Messages of allegiance and defiance: the murals of Gaza

Bill Rolston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Behind the iron grip which Israel maintains on the Gaza Strip, thereexists a vibrant tradition of painting murals and graffiti on outdoor walls. Theorigins and contemporary form of this tradition are considered in this article. Thepainting of murals and graffiti in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has its roots inthe first intifada which began in 1987. As part of the resistance to Israeli occupationand repression, young people, at great personal risk, mobilised popular supportthrough their clandestine artwork. The second intifada, beginning in 2000,saw the rise of Hamas as a force to be reckoned with, not least in terms of theincreasing sophistication of its murals and graffiti, which paid special attentionto calligraphy. Finally, with the departure of Israeli soldiers and settlers in 2005and the takeover of Hamas in the Gaza Strip in 2007 this organisation came todominate the walls. Murals in Gaza today cover a number of themes: Israelioppression, Palestinian resistance, martyrs, prisoners and Palestinian aspirations– in particular, freedom and statehood, and the right to return.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-64
JournalRace and Class
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2014


  • Gaza
  • graffiti
  • Hamas
  • intifada
  • murals
  • Oslo Accords
  • Palestine


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