Friday, 13 February 2009

Dheisheh Camp Social Youth Center

Handala, the Palestinian defiance symbol...

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 symbolized the character's rejection of "outside solutions". Handala wears ragged clothes and is barefoot, symbolizing 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".

The young people, future artists ? and the artist Rania !

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