Unique art exhibit coming to Comox Valley

For the first time, a unique exhibit of drawings and paintings comes to Vancouver Island this month.

For the first time, a unique exhibit of drawings and paintings comes to Vancouver Island this month.

Local audiences are invited to thoughtfully examine a collection of artwork by children who experienced the 22-day Israeli attack on Gaza in the Middle East during 2008-09.

The original exhibit of 75 drawings has been divided into three sets, one of which will show around the Comox Valley from Oct. 8 to 19, under the sponsorship of Mid-Islanders for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (MIJPME)/Comox Valley Chapter.

Of the 1,400 Palestinians killed by the Israeli military during Operation Cast Lead, more than 350 were children. A Child’s View from Gaza was created by children who survived the attacks and took part in art therapy classes at six children’s community centres in Gaza.

Curator and exhibit organizer Susan Johnson, an American activist who has traveled numerous times to witness the situation in the West Bank and Gaza, spearheaded an effort to bring the art to North America.

She describes the show as “nothing short of amazing — some drawings are difficult to view, with scenes depicting war at its worst while others illustrate hope.”

The public can view the exhibition at the following Courtenay locations:

  • • Zocalo Café, corner of Fifth and Cliffe from Oct. 8 to 12, (hours vary; see the Zocalo Facebook page for hours).
  • • North Island College, Discovery Hall, second floor, Ryan Road. From Oct. 15 to 19, 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Friday to 4 p.m).
  • • Dances of Hope/Raqset Al-Amal III event on Oct. 13 at the K’ómoks Band Hall on Comox Road (Dyke Road).
  • This lively evening — a benefit for the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund — will feature performances by a variety of talented Middle-Eastern-style belly dancers from up and down the Island. In addition, Middle Eastern treats will be available for purchase.
  • The doors will open at 6:30; dancing starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $18 (children under 12 free; youth under 16- $12), but extra donations are welcome.
  • If you cannot make it to the show, you can make a donation anyway— phone 250-335-0814 or e-mail Clo48bc@gmail.com.

During much of these times, volunteers from MIJPME will be on hand to share information and dialogue. A 17-minute video, prepared for A Child’s View of Gaza showing in Vancouver, may also be viewed.

Produced by Pam Bailey, it features Dr. Eyad al-Sarraj, president of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program discussing the Future for Gaza’s Children, and the psychological and social impact of war and siege.

Schools, faith communities and other groups are encouraged to see the exhibit and asked to contact MIJPME in advance to assure that a volunteer will be available. Endorsers of the exhibit include:  CV Peace Action Group, Community Justice Centre and the Seriously Free Speech Committee.

Mid-Islanders for Justice and Peace in the Middle East/Comox Valley meets monthly to share information and resources, discuss current actions, and host educational public outreach events.

For more information, contact 250-331-9391.

— Mid-Islanders for Justice and Peace in the Middle East


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