This Sea is Mine
In Gaza City an estimated 1.24 million people, three quarters of the population, are UNWRA-registered refugees, half of whom live in the eight officially recognized refugee camps. This means three quarters of the population either lived through or grew up hearing about the 1948 Catastrophe, or ‘Nakba’, and dream about returning to their lands and homes. The concept of ‘return’ has been discussed in every household in Gaza.
Despite the multiple wars and the siege Gaza has experienced over more than 68 years, it has never stopped dreaming of ‘return’. In this exhibition, the artists’ works are based on this dream and the notion that this sea belongs to them. It is a challenging exhibition, particularly with the theme of ‘this sea is mine’, as Gaza is a coastal city and the sea is part of its everyday life. The sea carries many meanings. It is where the people go to find some calm and peace of mind. But it is also a reminder of the limits on freedom with the 6 nautical mile limit out at sea. The sea represents our current homeland, as well as what we have lost, for the idea of ‘this sea is mine’ is also about Haifa and Umm el Fahem—and Ramallah, Jerusalem and Bethlehem, cut off from Gaza and the coasts of Haifa and Jaffa. The idea of ‘return’ is embedded in our society, as is the dream of returning to Ramla, Jaffa, Acre, the Galilee, and all Palestine