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Gaza Will Rise exhibit uses art as 'the biggest form of peaceful resistance,' say organizers

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A makeshift hallway made of steel caging guides visitors passed posters of different Palestinian cities.

On the other side of the cage, pictures of a bustling and vibrant Gaza hang next to startling visuals of post-war destruction, including photos of children who have died since Oct. 7, 2023.

At the end of the exhibition, a large map of Gaza spanning approximately seven metres sits on the ground with a sign calling it the "largest open air prison in the world."

These are just some of the visuals which were part of an art exhibit called ‘Gaza Will Rise’ hosted Saturday at the Caboto Club by the Women Movement 4 Palestine.

The group received help organizing the free and public event from Windsor 4 Palestine.

"The purpose of this event is to showcase the diversity of the Palestinian culture while also shedding light on the ongoing situation in Gaza," said Windsor 4 Palestine member Malak Alhajsaleh.

The 'Gaza Will Rise' art exhibit is seen in Windsor, Ont. on Feb. 24, 2024. (Sanjay Maru/CTV News Windsor)

Alhajsaleh said art is a valuable way of informing people, regardless of their language or age, about the history of Gaza.

"So we're showcasing, not just since Oct. 7, but events in 2003 and 2006, for example, and the wars that happened when the siege on Gaza begun," she said, adding education "is the biggest form of resistance."

"Through resistance, we show people that we are not okay with what's happening — and art is the biggest form of peaceful resistance,” she said.

Alhajsaleh, who was born in Gaza but left at the age of two, still has family over there.

Her aunt has been displaced four times and her grandparents have also been forced to leave their home, she said.

The 'Gaza Will Rise' art exhibit is seen in Windsor, Ont. on Feb. 24, 2024. (Sanjay Maru/CTV News Windsor)

"They're old people. They can't find food. There are innocent civilians dying. You do not need to be Palestinian to feel what they're going through. You just simply need to be a human being."

With those direct connections to the ongoing war, Alhajsaleh said she her performance at school and work have been negatively affected by the constant images of civilian deaths.

"I don't even ask them how they are anymore. I just ask them, 'Are you alive?' As embarrassing as it is, that's the only question I can ask now," said Alhajsaleh.

"What are we going to ask them? How is everything? Nothing's good. They don't have water. They don't have food."

The 'Gaza Will Rise' art exhibit is seen in Windsor, Ont. on Feb. 24, 2024. (Sanjay Maru/CTV News Windsor)

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