Palestine from Cairo series: Gaza, My Love

Amira Noshokaty , Thursday 2 May 2024

This week the French Cultural Institute in Cairo dedicated two days (27-28 April) to highlight the arts and culture of Palestine in an air of peace and fraternity.

Mohamed Salem
Palestinian photographer Mohamed Salem talking about his latest exhibition. Photo by Amira Noshokaty.


The Palestine programme has offered a variety of cultural and artistic layers and capabilities of Palestinian artists, including storytelling, photo exhibitions, and many more.

The photo exhibition titled Gaza Habebti (Gaza, My Love), by young talented Palestinian photographer Mohamed Salem, was among the most outstanding parts.

“I came to Egypt on 4 October, two days before the war on Gaza,” the Palestinian photographer told Ahram Online.

He added that most exhibition photos were captured between 2020 and just before the October war on Gaza started.

What makes the exhibition unique are the moments of hope and joy that the photographer captured; lots of smiling children, giggles, and even acts of kindness are on colourful display.

“I am a photojournalist and have photographed all events in Gaza, the blood and the war. I photographed the losses, so I was not keen that visitors to my exhibition should see all this. I wanted to show them how people before the war were holding on to hope, despite the hard life,” he added.

Moreover, it displayed moments of hopeful resistance, when people decided to hold on to their daily rituals and live against all odds – a person who dresses up like Santa and gives candy to children; children who laugh their hearts out in front of death itself; and women who carry their traditions like preparing wedding flowers and baking qatayeef (traditional dessert in the holy month of Ramadan).

Among youth, some still climb palm trees to get all the palms down, some work as fishermen, and some stretch in a long silhouette that seems to guard the city of Gaza.

“Take these boys; they have lost their legs because of the occupation, but they created their own sports team and joined the Olympics,” he noted.  

“These photos were taken during the Eid. We aimed to revive the joy in Palestine. This place is older than the country of Israel,” he said.  

“People who do not have enough money to attend the football Mondial are happily watching half a screen. These guys live in a tent, amid ruins, yet they have to have some flowers around them, a Palestinian tradition. As for this woman, she has to gather all her family members, and they would pick olives and make olive oil for days in their homes, a traditional Palestinian ritual,” he concluded.








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