Hundreds of people in Gaza stopped on September 9th to admire the work in progress of young Palestinian artists set to paint the longest mural in the country in celebration of the International Youth Day 2015.

 

At the initiative of UNESCO’s Networks of Mediterranean Youth (NET-MED Youth) project and in collaboration with one of its member organizations, the General Union of Cultural Centers (GUCC), the city of Gaza received a new splash of color this season.

 

With brushes in their hands and paint buckets at their feet, young artists, women and men, started transforming a 100-meter-long white canvas into a vibrant and harmonious artwork around the theme of “Youth and Civic Engagement”.

 

“Art is the finest way to express ideas and direct messages. I am drawing in yellow as it is the color of energy and future,” says Fidaa’ Hasanat, one of the participating artists. “Youth are the future. They are not the problem, but the solution when given the right of civic engagement”.

 

Like Fidaa’, 26 other young women artists took part in the activity, bringing the number of contributors up from an expected 50 to 64.

 

“Through NET-MED Youth, UNESCO aims at supporting an environment where young Palestinian women and men from Gaza and the West Bank can develop their competences and their creativity and make change for themselves, for their society and for their beautiful country”, says Lodovico Folin Calabi, Head of the UNESCO Office in Ramallah.

 

Fidaa painting in yellow, the color of hope
Photo credits: Motaz Alaaraj for UNESCO

 

The mural painting activity was initiated by the young members of NET-MED Youth in Gaza, for youth and for their community in order to showcase their potential, energy and commitment to join hands with local policy-makers and build a more sustainable society.

 

“We came here today to say that we can make a change,” says Fadi Abu Shamala, a young activist and artist.

 

Not only did the mural painting break the national Palestinian record by its length and the number of artists it gathered, but it also reflected strong messages from the youth themselves on themes like immigration, peace and tolerance, youth rights (education, employment, freedom of expression, freedom of movement and civic engagement), hope, gender equality, youth inclusion, potential and energy.

 

Enhancing the role of youth with disabilities in society
Photo credits: Tamer Hamam for UNESCO

 

''My participation in this mural event enhances the role of youth with disabilities in their society,” says Jehad Ghoul, a participating artist.

 

Throughout the eighth hours of the activity which used the northern wall of UNRWA’s building, citizens, university and school students, media representatives and members of civil society, youth and international organizations flocked around the young artists.

 

The International Youth Day is commemorated every year on August 12. But for the young women and men of UNESCO’s NET-MED Youth project, the impact of what that day stands for extends far beyond its punctuality.

 

 

In the field

Youth and Media

#YOUTHMEDIA

Activities building skills among youth organizations and young journalists; to enhance youth representation in media and promote freedom of expression, media and information literacy and youth-generated media content.

Youth and Employment

#YOUTHEMPLOYMENT

Activities joining youth organizations, employment experts and different national stakeholders to engage in dialogue and work together on unemployment solutions and skills needs. 

Youth Policies

#YOUTHPOLICIES

Activities empowering youth to participate in the communal and national development, revision and implementation of national youth strategies and public policies.