Palestinian artist Fayez al-Hassani, founder of first digital arts festival in Gaza, draws a painting at Rawasi Palestine Center in Gaza City, on May 11, 2020. The first digital arts festival has kicked off on Friday in Gaza to mark the Palestinian Nakba Day, or Day of Catastrophe. Around 300 Arab and Palestinian artists joined the digital arts festival, which is called "On the Way to Jerusalem," according to the organizers of the digital activity. (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua)
by Saud Abu Ramadan
GAZA, May 15 (Xinhua) -- The first digital arts festival has kicked off on Friday in Gaza to mark the Palestinian Nakba Day, or Day of Catastrophe.
Around 300 Arab and Palestinian artists joined the digital arts festival, which is called "On the Way to Jerusalem," according to the organizers of the digital activity.
Every year on May 15, the Palestinians demonstrate to commemorate the anniversary by holding rallies and several activities, which often lead to violent confrontations with the Israeli army forces.
However, this year, the Palestinians were unable to organize mass rallies, protests, and demonstrations in Palestinian territories because of the precautionary measures over the COVID-19 concerns.
The digital arts festival is an initiative by a group of Gaza's artists in coordination with Arab artists to present their artistic works on the demonstration's page on Facebook.
Fayez al-Hassani, founder of the digital festival, told Xinhua that the digital activities to mark Nakba Day will go on for one week.
"Resorting to this activity, which is a digital demonstration, was the alternative to a field demonstration because of the precautionary measures, which were taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the Gaza Strip," he said.
Al-Hassani stressed that the aim of the digital festival "is to send a message to the world, including Arab states, that the Palestinian question is the major compass for resolving the conflict in the Middle East."
He also clarified that "fine and graphic arts" can interpret the hard feelings of the Palestinian people through portraits that send a clear and easy message to the viewers.
Some of the Arab artists participated in the festival with portraits showing Israeli army's roadblocks that prevent the Palestinians from reaching Jerusalem.
Nasim Al-Zenati, one of the festival organizers from Gaza, told Xinhua that "this anniversary won't be comprehensive without the participation of our Arab colleagues, mainly fine and plastic artists who get huge respect in their societies."
"Politics built borders, but Arab artists disregarded and ignored them. We felt this when so many Arab artists asked to participate in this huge festival," he said.
Al-Zenati explained that the artists, who joined the festival, will be honored through a documentary film that reviews their work, in addition to launching the first digital book that records the biographies of the Arab artists and their most important achievements in their artistic resume.