Creating new perspectives since 2009

'Power of Design' event examines effect of illustrations on global protests for Palestine

November 29, 2023 at 8:10 pm

An aerial view of hundreds of people staging a demonstration to express their solidarity with Palestinians and protest Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza, at Beyazit square in Istanbul, Turkiye on October 20, 2023. [Muhammed Enes Yıldırım/Anadolu Agency]

The Power of Design: Palestine Resistance event held Wednesday at the Hagia Sophia campus in Istanbul, addressed the significance of visual elements in worldwide protests and boycotts in response to Israel’s actions in Palestine, Anadolu Agency reports.

It was organised by the Graphic Design Department of the Faculty of Fine Arts at Fatih Sultan Mehmet Foundation University (FSMFVU).

A graphic designer for Anadolu, Omar Zaghloul, presented examples of famous designs from the 1970s when the global Palestinian resistance began.

One should not dismiss it as a simple design. A well-made and meaningful design can quickly touch the hearts of people and become the voice of a nation’s resistance

said Zaghloul.

He explained the meaning of the patterns on the “keffiyeh” scarf, which has become a symbol of Palestinian resistance.

Assistant professor at FSMVU, Amine Refika, said designs created by illustrators from around the world have become symbols of protests in many countries following Israel’s attacks on Gaza last month.

Refika mentioned websites, such as and, where a majority of pro-Palestinian designs from around the world are gathered.

The designs are accessible for free to be used in protests and boycott campaigns globally, she said.

“As seen, design is powerful, and the designer is a power on their own. “A designer has concerns and emotions, and they design to express these concerns,” she added.

Illustrator, Cemile Agac Yildirim, talked about the designs she has created since the beginning of Israel’s attacks in Gaza and emphasized the power of design.

“Illustration means ornamentation, decoration and shining. My preferred meaning is shining. We convey and shine a thought or message to the audience through the universal language of art, which is painting,” said Yildirim.

“I am not a person who can go out on the street and shout, but I can do it with my lines. This art means more than just drawing; it means conveying messages, telling long stories. Pages of text can be extracted from an illustration,” she said.

WATCH: Palestinian-Canadian journalist fired by major Canadian network for pro-Palestine stance