top of page

Gaia and Hassan - text for Bath festival 


"Gaia and Hassan draw [in] the protest" 2011

 Poverty and struggle through the eyes of homeless Arab ‎and Jewish teenagers. ‎

A project by Gil Mualem Doron with Gaia Hadar LeBlanc, Hasan Abu Shamis ‎


"Political and artistic fictions introduce dissensus by hollowing out that “real” and multiplying it in a polemical way….The practice of fiction undoes and then re‐articulates connections between signs and images, images and times, and signs and spaces, framing a given sense of reality, a given 'common sense.' It is a practice that invents new trajectories between what can be seen, what can be said and what can be done." Rancière, Dissensus: On politics and aesthetics.


"In liminal commons, instead, the community of the commoners shines through its absence. Some kind of community, of course, is temporarily emerging for the production of the common. But this is always precarious and often dissolves. The borders of a liminal community are not only blurred. They actually do not exist as such. Liminal commons, in other words, are not defined by exclusion. Because of this, they are more likely to happen in spaces where exclusion is not likely or desirable, such as a public square."Varvarousis and Kallis, Commoning against the Crisis.  


"Gaia and Hassan Draw the Protest" is being created collaboratively with two teenagers from homeless families who lived for about half a year in the Arab-Jewish protest camp for social justice in Jaffa. The camp, created in a public garden at the heart of Jaffa, was part of the Movement of Social Justice in Israel in 2011. The park, Gan Ha'shnaim [meaning - The Garden of the Two] is named after a Palestinian resident of Jaffa, Abad al-Gani, who tried to protect a Jewish girl, Ilanit Ohana, from being murdered by a Palestinian from Gaza. Both Abad and Ilanint were stabbed to death. 


As one of the founders of the Jewish-Arab camp, Gil created several interventions, for which Gaia and Hassan helped prepare protest placards and drawings. Noticing their talent and passion for drawing, he started working with them on documenting, in hand drawings that were then digitised and mixed with photos, their and their families' daily lives in the camp and the protests in and out of the camp. 


The project included long conversations about their lives, aspirations, and daily struggles as homeless people. It contextualised their lived experience in the camp and being part of the movement for social justice with other global movements, such as Occupy [US / UK], the Arab Spring, the Iranian Green Movement, and the Spanish Indignados Movement [M15], which were part of the global wave of anti-austerity protests of 2010 and after. 


The project is based on a set of mixed-media drawings we created together in the camp over six months.

The project  ‎was exhibited in several municipal galleries in Israel and in Beit Ha'am—'The People's Home', the ‎headquarters of the Israeli protest movement, in Tel Aviv, at The International ‎Photography Exhibition in Jaffa, and in the Deutsches Sport & Olympia Museum in Koln, Germany. 


The decision to re-exhibit the project as part of Art Fringe Bath and on other recent occasions highlights the work of the social movement Standing Together in Israel/Palestine. Standing Together is a grassroots movement mobilising Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel in pursuit of peace, equality, and social and climate justice. 


For more information about the group's support in the UK, please click here, and for the movement’s website, please click here 


The two A3 collages at the exhibition [see below] are for sale for £200 and will all be donated to Standing Together.

Gaia&Hassan-collage-Landscape copy-lowRex.jpg
Jaffa Camp 2011 collage low res.jpg

The People Family: A Homeless Family as an Art Intervention

The Arab-Jewish Camp for Social Justice was evicted by the local municipality in February 2012. Hassan and his family were temporarily placed in Jaffa, while Gaia and her family found themselves on the streets.  Gaia’s stepdad called the Movement For Social Justice headquarters, which had a large building in the centre of Tel Aviv, and asked if they could be there for a few days until they found a place to stay. They were refused. The building management said that the building could accommodate only cultural events and not tenants. On the same day, I sent a proposal for a one-week live installation/intervention in collaboration with Gaia and her family. The installation will include all the work done by Hassan and Gaia and the reconstruction of Gaia’s family tent, which was evicted from the park. Gaia’s family will live in the tent for a week and invite people to talk about tea and refreshments donated by the community. The proposal was accepted, and Gaia, with her family and their dog, moved to the headquarters gallery for a week, developing the idea and adding music events, 2nd hand clothes sharing, and potluck meals.

A news report about the project at the People's House can be viewed by clicking here

Screenshot 05-14-2024 21.54.39.png

In 2024, in the wake of the Hamas attack in Israel and the destruction of Gaza, and the protest against the war by the Arab-Jewish organisation Standing Together in Israel I felt  Gaia & Hasan's Drawing the Protest should be re-exhibited and the exhibition by the Social Circle, Brighton and Social Art Bath, during Bath Art Festival was a perfect opportunity.
The exhibition included various collaborations between the two groups of artists, which led to a conversation about this project between Stacey Pottinger, an artist and the director of Octopus Impact—Community, Impact, Art, and me.  The conversation can be listened to via the audio file below.

bottom of page