Mohammed Al Hawajri

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Red Carpet

(Red carpet)

Red carpet is a form of formal ceremony when the world's governments, especially at the VIP reception of Heads of State, leaders, rulers, King, and influential and powerful decision makers. Also, it has become a tradition to honor celebrity artists in some art festivals.


This is because it gives luxury, attention and highlight to whoever walks on it according to the historical tradition due to which that red carpet was found.


The history of red carpets goes back in time to ancient Greek mythology, whereas in the ancient Greek literature, specifically in the play Agamemnon by Askhilios in 458 BC, narrates the story of Agamemnon, King of ARGOS upon his return from the Trojan war that he won with the help of Gods, and upon hearing the news, his wife had decided to welcome him in a special way that is worthy of the gods by furnishing crimson red carpets at his reception.


In my project, I try to shed a light at the community issues related to the daily living of Gaza. The roles I allotted are two-way different issues between plain people and officials where you see some of the works are assume the role of referring to plain people who are aspiring a better life or dream of securing their very basic needs, while on the other hand there are some roles critical to decision maker officials who are demanded to demanded to secure a decent living to their citizens and who must be up to the responsibility assigned to them by people. 


Why the Gaza Strip?

The Gaza Strip lives the volatile life ranging between political, security, social and economic tension ... and also lives a dead end when it comes to the future, and this is due to the lack of a red carpet in the past years, meaning that there is no recognition of the government elected by the people which became a big trouble due to the government that came to power through democratic election, the non-recognition of this has rendered the political and diplomatic endeavors of international political absent in the life of Gaza and that has become isolated from the world leading to polo-decisions and reflected on the people, made them look for opportunities to survive in high insulation , access to Gaza by illegal ways such as through ships breaking the siege across the sea which were under attacks that claimed the lives of some of the organizers of those humanitarian campaigns by international solidarity activists with the people of Gaza.

The tunnels were opened in the Gaza Strip on the southern border between Gaza and Egypt, which are also an unacceptable solution, but they are like a solution that helps to maintain the remainder of life, they have become the only port for securing basic needs of food, medicine, fuel, cooking gas and a lot of things that help in some way to the steadfastness of the people living under oppressive and restrict siege on people of Gaza who have been living special harsh life that has been full of a mixture of sadness and despair sometimes.

I looked through my work on the important points in this siege and life that I try to highlight critical and cynical manner away from the mainstream perception, and the transmission of information through local and international media.


The Image of siege:

The siege on Gaza is unjust and unfair terms governing the collective imprisonment without guilt over one million and 794 inhabitants, this siege turned the Gaza Strip into a large prison and prevents movement or mobility so that Gaza is subject to two barriers that play a big role in affecting the freedom of movement and travel.


First: the Rafah crossing on the southern Gaza Strip that links Gaza with the world through Egypt, and the other barrier is located on the north side, which is controlled by Israel, which prevents exit through this portal. Conditions of closure to those who have casted a shadow over the lives of people in Gaza, increased unemployment and prevented students from enrolling in universities abroad, also many employees working abroad couldn’t attend to their work for the same reason, and lack of medicines and basic needs which I mentioned earlier.


In this siege, a new picture of the human was painted in Gaza became as the human became a weak person surrendering to the de facto and to the new conditions imposed on them.   Also in Gaza, preventing Palestinian fishermen from crossing the sea, distance allowed is four km where the space is not sufficient to get to catch large fish.


The burden of life become heavy on the Gaza citizens in these tiring and consuming circumstances assume that made them acclimated forcibly those bitter conditions.


In my project, I try to portray a picture of this bitter reality by introducing the citizen of Gaza elegantly dressed unlike the true picture while my goal is to draw attention to the contrast between image and known reality.


Also, I do not want to fall into the tradition of the local and international media from filming the simple people who are seeking to provide their needs.


My projects comes as a social and political research in critical terms, and in my opinion this is an important new mission for an artist after conceptual art because I believe that art has an interactive relationship with the people and expresses their concerns, dreams and even their critical thoughts for the reality of the lives that have become a burden on the people in the world.


Art now is a strong voice helps to latent truths in the various community issues of politics, economy and etc.... I hope my work to be a measure of moral and humanitarian responsibility and to be able to touch your minds and your hearts and to highlight the size of the real living pain in the Gaza Strip.


The situation of the Gaza Strip is particularly complex because of the security and political instability resulting from the presence of the Israeli occupation.


There are some neighboring Arabic countries living conditions comparable to some extent such as high cost of living and rising unemployment that made people poorer and treating securing their basic needs with special rituals with a view to ridiculing what the trouble securing them,  there are many scenes that caught my attention on social media and the Internet that have had a significant impact on shaping notions and motivating me to move forward on introducing some of the problems we are experiencing because of the deterioration of the political situation, clogging prospects and a lack of strategic planning for a better life.

Some Sarcastic scenes:

Reception of gas cylinder on a red carpet

Reception of gas cylinder with a popular procession “Zaffa”

Dressing the gas cylinder with a bridal dress

Publishing written congratulations for receiving gas cylinder

Reception of gas cylinder with tears of happiness


And in all other important needs such as electricity that take part in the greatest proportion of conversation between people.


There are those who do not leave house while the electricity is on and treat electricity like a dear guest that must be respected and honored.

Many people will cancel or postpone important appointment too for the same reason which is electricity.


Many of the words and standpoints to use the word electricity such as:-

The electricity cut off, the electricity is back on for eight hours a day, what times is electricity back on?, is electricity on your end? Is electricity off your end? How many hours do you have power a day? We don’t have electricity; Electricity is on all day, No electricity till now.

What’s wrong that we don’t have electricity till now, today is an open day where we have electricity all day, how is the electricity your end?, no electricity for two days now, we have electricity in our area , do you have in yours?


By the way, we have no electricity, what would we do if there electricity is down? Man! Electricity is back on by 2 a.m., Electricity goes off on 10 at night, electricity was back on by midnight, the kids cannot sleep due to darkness, the kids are scared because of power cutoff, is electricity on at work tomorrow?, what’s the electricity schedule for this week?, we are getting back to the old electricity schedule this week, electricity is on 8 hours a day, no electricity of 12 hours a day, I thought you have electricity, our neighbors have electricity.


Do you know that electricity is going off in a bit, do you know that I there will be no electricity by the time I come back home, I am going to my friend’s place because electricity is on there, I will do something before electricity goes down, my friends are coming to my place today because there is electricity here, I want to study before electricity goes off, where is the onion? I can’t see because power is off.


I haven’t showered today and I smell because I couldn’t hear water because there is no electricity, put the tea cattle on fire before electricity goes off, electricity went down in the middle of the film, I can’t see to pain because there is no electricity, I will come back home early because there is electricity.


Let’s go back home guys because electricity went down, reception is poor due to electricity cutoff, I can’t hear you because electricity is off, electricity bothered me as I can’t bake because of the poor voltage, we sleep early today due to power cutoff, I am not going to my work today because of electricity cutoff, I will email you when there is electricity, is there electricity in your place, life without electricity is no life.


What applies to gas and electricity applies to fuel (petrol and its derivatives), which has many roles in life in Gaza because of the worsening problem of electricity. One of the most important of these uses the electric generator which became one of the basics that must be provided in the house despite its noise, but people may forget the inconvenience due to the voice of this generator like it is a special musical to the ears of people of Gaza, all of this bitter reality made me excited to transfer it into art critic and parody of bitter reality that people are forced to adapting to it.


The irony came here from the people who are charmed by the reality of their lives in their own different ways, I in turn, employed this in a contemporary art work.


The Project:

The red carpet is the most important element in this project, so it will be like a signature for each act produced as described in the acts of the multimedia exhibition draws on (resp. video, photography).


These techniques became a language that people treat with due to technological development that made the world a small village which is the most rapidly spread the project objective is to highlight the lives of Gaza's blockade by contemporary art.


Mohammed Al Hawajri

Jan 25, 2014