Palestine House, in collaboration with Sarah Abu-Sharar, an Expressive Art Therapist, will stage an autumn Art Camp over the Thanksgiving long weekend for a group of Palestinian Canadian children aged seven to 13 years. 

The camp will bring together 20 Palestinian Canadian children to introduce them to the “discourse of the political situation in Palestine, through their own language, which is the language of art, magic and play.”

Children will have the opportunity to meet other Palestinian children while creating art with them on the topic of Palestine. The camp will be facilitated by a trained Expressive Art Therapist and a group of artists.

“The witnessing of art work is very important, empowering and healing for the child artist and it is also a great opportunity for the children to educate the wider Canadian community on what is really happening in Palestine through the eyes of a child,” said Sarah Abu-Sharar.

Children will have the opportunity to exhibit their art work and give a short public performance on Monday, October 13 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Palestine House located at 3195 Erindale Station Road in Mississauga.

“Art has been used as both a tool for social change as well as for personal healing,” said Abu-Sharar in a release Friday.  

“Children are all artists, they move in and out of reality and into imagination naturally and frequently. Knowing this it is through art that we can meet children at their level and include them in the discourse of Palestine.”

Abu-Sharar said “the Palestinian children in Canada have been exposed to horrific images of children who look like them. They have seen their parents worried and desperately trying to reach their loved ones in Gaza and the West Bank, wondering if their homes are next to be abolished, if their relatives farms are the next to be burned, if their relatives children are the next to be killed.”

The art camp takes place Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

“Through art these children can express their feelings while having fun with their peers who have experienced similar tragic realities,” said Abu-Sharar. 

“We have seen images of adults protesting the occupation in very adult ways and now it is time to hear the children’s voices through art.”

John Bonnar

John Bonnar is an independent journalist producing print, photo, video and audio stories about social justice issues in and around Toronto.