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Meet the Italian artist drawing Palestine's struggle in the streets of Naples

Italian artist and photojournalist Eduardo Castaldo turned the streets of Naples into a canvas to amplify the voices of Palestinians. After four years documenting life under Israeli occupation, Castaldo turned his photos into street art as a means of resistance and to strengthen Naples’ identity as an anti-Zionist city. His work has helped turn the city into a battleground for justice and the anti-colonisation struggle.

December 25, 2023 at 10:10 am

In the heart of Naples, where history and culture intertwine, Italian artist and photojournalist Eduardo Castaldo found a canvas for his mission to amplify Palestinian voices, often those that had been silenced. After spending four years documenting the lives of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, Castaldo embarked on a unique artistic journey that transformed the streets of Naples into a poignant reflection of the struggles faced in Palestine.

Castaldo’s journey began in the occupied Palestinian territories, where his lens captured the harsh realities of life under occupation. A lot of them were never sold, as the idea of selling them did not sit well with him.

“I was producing images for a media narrative that I didn’t agree with,” Castaldo told MEMO, reflecting on his dissatisfaction with the conventional portrayal of the Palestinian cause. Determined to present the authentic narrative of Palestine, he decided to showcase his work as street art in his hometown of Naples. He found himself completely free to express the unfiltered truth of the Palestinian experience.

During his time in the occupied territories, Castaldo’s tourist visa and lack of a work permit had him navigating the challenges of border crossings and experiencing life on both sides of the divide. His photographs not only documented the struggles but also captured the resilience and determination of a people striving to retain their dignity.

Castaldo’s work, such as a powerful stencil of two Israeli soldiers, who reminded him of two soldiers in a video game he was familiar with, was transformed with the addition of a Neapolitan woman throwing water at them, conveying a powerful message: Naples resists Zionism.

Naples, known for its rich history and vibrant culture, became an unexpected platform for resistance. The launch of a direct flight from Tel Aviv to Naples brought an influx of Israeli tourists to the city, presenting Castaldo with a new audience. His mission to resist in Naples held broader significance – he aimed to strengthen the identity of the city as an anti-Zionist space, making it challenging for tourists to ignore the messages surrounding them.

“Resisting in Napoli means resisting everywhere. It is a responsibility and it’s very important to strengthen the identity of Napoli as an anti-Zionist city. So, they come here, they want to enjoy the Western city and enjoy their normalisation. They can’t because they are surrounded by these messages,” Castaldo emphasised.

Eduardo Castaldo is not alone in his artistic resistance. Naples itself has become a hub for pro-Palestinian art. Renowned Neapolitan-Dutch artist Jorit, who faced arrest in Bethlehem for painting a four-meter image of Ahed Tamimi’s face on the Separation Wall in 2018, has also contributed to the city’s landscape with striking pro-Palestinian murals.

Castaldo and fellow artists are using their creative expressions to shed light on the ongoing Israeli air strikes on Gaza and the increased attacks on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. Through art, these creators are not only telling stories but actively participating in a global resistance against injustice.

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