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Amid the ongoing genocide in Gaza, Argentinian artists express solidarity with Palestine

March 14, 2024 at 1:20 pm

Argentine artist Gustavo Calvet working on his mural in Buenos Aires, 2024. [Photo: Gustavo Calvet]

Argentinian artists have been working diligently for the past few weeks to create a mural on the stairs of a busy railway station in the neighbourhood of Moreno in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. The artists were brought together by local artist-activist Gustavo Calvet to express their solidarity with the Palestinians. They believe that the prominent position of the mural will raise awareness and prompt those who see it to reflect on Israel’s ongoing genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza.

The mural includes an image of a Palestinian child wearing a traditional keffiyeh and raising a Palestine flag. Calvet has also painted a Palestinian flag with “For a free, democratic and socialist Palestine” written on it.

“In the mural, we are seeking to represent someone staring at the camera and questioning what they’re seeing,” Calvet told me. “There is a symbolic idea of hope amid the darkness, explaining how the child is turning his back to the sunset in the background to see the light of dawn.”

He pointed out that the location was chosen because it is known to be very busy. “It is on one of the sets of stairs of the railway station in the centre of Moreno. I guided my colleagues, state workers, teachers, health workers and neighbours, and together we created the mural.” It has been accepted by passers-by and local residents, added Calvet.

He is a social communicator, artist and socialist activist who focuses on painting murals in different cities across Argentina. From a young age, Calvet has been expressing himself through his drawings and paintings.

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Murals have been used in different contexts and with different techniques, to show these strong relations between Argentina and Palestine, he explained, in the belief that the use of colour, design and thematic treatment can alter the perception of the viewer radically. Through his paintings, many Argentinians have been encouraged to get to know more about Palestine and its people.

“Art is a work that remains intact to this day and at a certain point, the image is travelling the world. Getting the message spread is the goal, so that different people become aware of the relevant issue. The technique does not matter, but rather the objective of disseminating and raising awareness,” Calvet pointed out.

Gustavo Calvet is known as a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause and has put his passion to work in solidarity with Palestine in the Workers’ Socialist Movement (MST) involved in street art and painting murals. While the MST has a footprint across Argentina, it also expresses its solidarity towards the Palestinians’ fight against Israeli occupation.

“I was always aware of the conflict that existed between Israel and the Palestinian people over the land, but I became more aware and positioned as a member of the party [the MST]. From there I began to inform myself through talks and in different solidarity activities to make the suffering of Palestinian people more visible.”

He told me that more and more people understand that this is not a “war” in Gaza, as mainstream media try to propagate.

“It is genocide.

“All oppressed people have the right to defend themselves and fight to recover what has been taken from them,” he insisted.

According to the artist-activist, the only way to stop the Israeli genocide of the Palestinian people is to do things every day and in every place. “Here in my city, we promote Palestine solidarity campaigns. This mural arose out of a colleague’s proposal to make the genocide in Gaza more visible to everyone passing by.” One aim of his activism, he told me, is to persuade the Argentine government to sever relations with Israel.

In Argentina, solidarity with Palestinians is fast becoming a regular feature of daily life. The naming of streets and public squares, drawing murals and taking part in protest marches are a part of the ongoing process of mapping the close ties between Argentina and Palestine.

“I believe that the Argentine people are supportive, but we just need to raise awareness among more and more people. We support the legitimate resistance and the fight for the self-determination for the people, and we also repudiate any act of complicity carried out by many governments,” he concluded. “It is a duty of all those who love freedom and defend the right of self-determination, to support the Palestinian people.”

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