Ismail Matar is known in southern Gaza as the ‘Painter of the Refugee Camp’. And there is a good reason for that.
A refugee himself, Matar, 22, paints mostly on the walls of the Khan Younis Refugee Camp, in the Southern Gaza Strip where he lives along with his family.
The young Palestinian artist studies computer engineering at Al-Azhar University in Gaza City. But his real passion is art, one that conveys the pain, resistance, and daily suffering of his people.
The numerous murals that he painted on the decaying walls of the camp have done more than adding a bit of color to the otherwise grey, cement existence of the crowded neighborhoods. Matar’s paintings serve as a reminder that the poor people of the camp are creative, rebellious, and despite their layered hardship, are still able to express their identity as an exiled nation.
Matar told The Palestine Chronicle that he began painting as a child, but he dedicated to his hobby in the last few years. He explained that the reason he made the walls of the camp his canvas is that he wants to take his art to the people themselves.
This is precisely why Ismail Matar has earned his name ‘Rasam al-Mukhiam’ – Painter of the Refugee Camp.
Enjoy Matar’s art and make sure you help him spread his message beyond the Khan Younis Refugee Camp, to the rest of the world.