Gaza City, Gaza, Palestine — Palestinians celebrating the holy month of Ramadan 2023 are greeted by colorful art-filled walls lining the streets and corridors down some of the oldest lanes of the ‘old city’ in the Gaza Strip.
Walls bear a bright, artistic, colorful painting on their façade drawing the attention of the passer by and spreading joy and vitality to the arrival of all people. In Gaza’s al-Zaytun neighborhood in the ‘old city,’ Mohamed Ahmed Al-Saedy started transforming the walls of his house and spread to the neighbors into what is now known in Gaza as the ‘colorful neighborhood.’
Homeowner Abu Mohamed said the art “provides an excellent Ramadan atmosphere” to the neighborhood in east Gaza City. “Our street was at first like any other neighborhood in the Gaza Strip but not anymore, with the presence of the creativity of Mohamed Ahmed Al-Saedy,” said Mohamed. At least 50 homes have been painted since the start of the year.
The entrance to the neighborhood is adorned by a large colorful lantern hanging from lines in the middle of street. The walls around the lantern are adorned with an array of colors, murals, and paintings — one of which includes a rendition of al-Aqsa Mosque and a map of Palestine with a Palestinian flag painting and a large Palestinian flag hanging from ropes on a building.
Not only is there vibrant paintings on the walls of the neighborhood and inside the houses, community members have planted seedlings of flowers, roses, and other plants around the neighborhood.
“Gaza is more beautiful with color and roses. Gaza deserves it. The idea started in my house and I wanted to bring it outside. When I took it outside, the citizens felt the beauty of this idea, and we cooperated together.”
Mohamed Ahmed Al-Saedy
During Ramadan, the neighborhood’s rejoicing is completed at night with decorative ropes suspended between electric poles, adjoining buildings, and the windows of houses overlooking the road.
The beauty of the neighborhood has attracted the attention of passers-by, the lenses of photographers, and groups of visitors.
“We are a people who love beauty as we love martyrdom. It is a national duty for every person to preserve the environment they live in. We cultivate our house with the simplest tools that can be created. This is what you see in the neighborhood with the support of the municipality. This work took three months.”
Mohamed Ahmed Al-Saedy
The Gaza Municipality has provided support in the form of materials and maintenance of roads and alleys in the ‘old city.’ Seven lanterns for lighting and five solar panels and electric cables have been installed. Sewage network maintenance, the installation of a new drain, and plastic garbage containers in the neighborhood, and the planting of trees in a step that supports agricultural life.
Mohamed Abu said “I hope that all areas of the Gaza Strip become like the ‘colorful neighborhood.’”
For more from Palestine, see our archives.
Niko Georgiades contributed to this piece for Unicorn Riot.
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