On Saturday day on I obtained a scanned map of Israel & Palestine from the “Atlas of the Middle East”, published in January 1993 by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. I was thinking of using the map for something quasi political, but this last week Israel blew up the only power plant in Gaza. An act identified as an international war crime where women, children, the sick, and eldery were all collectively punished through this illegal act on civilians. Israel also abducted 8 elected members of parliament. I can only imagine what it would be like if my city council members were kidnapped. Worse, my good friend was supposed to be going to Beruit next month and I don’t think she’ll be able to go now. I chose to add Naji al-Ali’s cartoon character Handala to this map as my way of showing shame.
From Wikipedia on Handala:
Handala is the most famous of Naji al-Ali’s characters. He is depicted as a ten-year old boy, and appeared for the first time in Al-Siyasa in Kuwait in 1969. The figure turned his back to the viewer from the year 1973, and clasped his hands behind his back. The artist explained that the ten-year old represented his age when forced to leave Palestine and would not grow up until he could return to his homeland; his turned back and clasped hands symbolised the character’s rejection of “outside solutions”. Handala wears ragged clothes and is barefoot, symbolising his allegiance to the poor. In later cartoons, he sometimes appears throwing stones or writing graffiti. Handala became the signature of Naji al-Ali’s cartoons and remains an iconic symbol of Palestinian identity and defiance; the artist remarked that “this being that I have invented will certainly not cease to exist after me, and perhaps it is no exaggeration to say that I will live on with him after my death”.
Yesterday I did run into a wayward and former Seeds of Peace camp counselor at the U-Haul. This did give me some hope…
View Map details:
Of interesting note, the map states clearly:
“The 1950 Israeli proclamation that Jerusalem be the national capital is not recognized by the United States Government”
I chose the placement of Handala so that his head surrounds Israel to point out focus of shame. By adding the character to the map, he becomes a cartoon cartouche. I am not aware of any contemporary maps that have iconic cartoon characters on them.
The points of the found star in the map are interesting. The confluence of the West Bank creates the tips and for some reason the C.I.A. chose to use odd stripes to show the West Bank as a country. Why not a normal whole color like every other country? Cartographic bias?
The best line from this section of the map is:
GAZA STRIP – Israeli occupied- status to be determined.
I am offering ten signed prints of ISRAEL / PALESTINE 1993 for sale at the gallery. Printed at 48″ x 32″ with archival inks on stretched canvas, the map is printed large enough so that you can read the tiny print on the original map.
If you are interested in attending the opening night reception, I have added an event invitation on Facebook where you can RSVP.
Congratulations on producing such an awesome, artistic and political visual. As a collector of antique maps, I have always been fascinated by, and appreciative of, the early cartographers and artists who found personal expression in their works. Its comforting to know that you and your kin are still bridging the past – to the present – to the future – through your artistic endeavors. On – On… Thanks. BR
Comment by Bob Rodriguez — 2/8/2008 @ 11:55 am