This week has been great, I've had the chance to have two very interesting meetings, 1st one was with Tamam Al Akhal (artist and widow of the late Isamel Shammout), and the 2nd was with a few Gazan kids.
starting with the later, groups of Gazan kids are to travel to the USA through UN organization to speak at the UN HQ and learn about human rights and all, they stop by Jordan for a day or two, this week it was a group of 9th grader male kids, and we arranged for them to have some activities and fun instead of just going around shops and markets, 1st impression? they're just kids! I mean you go thinking "these are Gazans" and you -for some stupid reason- think you're going to encounter something unusual, but you don't, they were so pleasant to be around, funny and witty , so smart we couldn't play some games with them cuz they needed some to be not-so-alert so the game would go on for couple of minutes, but not with those guys!! of course being a Palestinian who live in Palestine you're automatically politically aware, so between the regular chi chat politics comes up, sometimes in the most unexpected way, like when we were introducing ourselves saying our names out loud and our favorite colors, the favorite colors in Gaza are either green or yellow! at 1st I was like "what kind of kid favors YELLOW for a color :/ ?" but it wasn't long before it hit me and I laughed my ass off, ps : Jabha isn't popular there no its not!
We had a good time, they told me how they don't give a damn about what party do you support because they're all classmates and friends, but yet at the same time, if you starting picking on "me", i'll pick on "you", but at the end of the day "we don't care"! I hope they stay this way when they grow up some more ! These guys were so charming you have no idea, Thanks for Hakim who called me up to be part of this, and I hear there's more next week, can't wait for it.
Thanks for another friend, amazing director Dalia Kury, I got to meet one of my favorite artists of all time, Tamam Al Ak7al, and when you say Tamam you automatically think Ismael Shammout, if you're not familiar with her name or either of them you're sure familiar with their work, visit www.shammout.com there are selected paintings for both of them, and I have a story with these guys, I always heard about them from my parents, I've seen replicas of their work since I was a kid, Ismael Shammout is the pioneer of Palestinian art, to walk into their living room full of so many amazing original paintings was chilling to say the least, it was so overwhelming for me, I appreciate these people and their work more than I can put to words, I seriously couldn't get it together at 1st even though I was specifically asked to! and when she came out and sat with us...can't describe how nice this lady is, its like your neighbor who u knew since ever, so sweet and nice and easy going, we then moved to the gallery, the other room where she paints, we talked some more and listened to amazing stories about their journey, she then grabbed some old huge photo album, started showing us the pictures and telling us about each one, and it was as if she was telling us about something that happened yesterday "and in this one, we were with Darwish and friends at some place doing this and that", "this one here at our exhibition in ebsar wain, and here's when Abu Ammar came and joked with Ismael about being tall and all", "this is my sister,wearing the falla7i dress, look at her holding her purse", "these are the oranges fields, and you see here? this is how they used to wrap it in paper to be exported in these little boats, I used to steal a bunch of this paper and make a kite and fly it over the roof, and after that of course my dad would catch me and I'd akol atleh, I was the tom boy!" ! at times It felt as if I was kind of getting out of my body and look at us and think ; I am sitting with history! I am with someone who made a difference ,someone who lived through it all, and I'm bloody lucky! I savored every moment of it! these times are priceless and forever will remain precious.
I took some photos of the paintings and some photographs from that photo album, check them out.
If you'd like to hear more from Tamam AlAk7al, watch her interview on Aljazeera, part 1,part 2
khalto Tamam,allah ykalleelna eyyake...
khalto Tamam,allah ykalleelna eyyake...