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The Fake Child Artists of Gaza

July 16, 2012 2:39 pm 21 comments

Photo: CJPME.

In Toronto there is an art exhibition called “A Child’s View of Gaza.” The description states:

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is delighted to announce the presentation at Alternative Grounds Café of a fascinating exhibition of drawings by children from Gaza. The exhibition — A Child’s View from Gaza — features 26 drawings by Gaza children from 5 to 14 years of age, created during the course of art therapy.

Each drawing reflects different aspects of a child’s life in Gaza and the impact of the ongoing blockade on their daily lives. A Child’s View from Gaza also offers a child’s perspective on the Israeli offensive against Gaza, which took place from December 27th, 2008 to January 17th, 2009. Each drawing is unique in its perspective and details.

When these pictures were shown in Oakland last year, they did not appear to be drawn by children, or at the very least some of them may have been drawn under the heavy influence of adults who created the motifs for children to copy. One obvious example was this one:

Image supposedly drawn by a child in Gaza. Photo: CJPME.

It is a direct copy, with a lot of standard anti-Zionist embellishments, of a poster by anti-semitic cartoonist Carlos Latuff (top left).

However, other pieces seem to be way too sophisticated to have been drawn by children at all.

Here is a selection of a few of the pictures:

Photo: CJPME.

Photo: CJPME.

Photo: CJPME.

Photo: CJPME.

I asked a few art experts their opinions on these drawings.

An art professor said:

The authenticity of the painting is remarkable for a child’s hand. The drawing of the planes and helicopters, the man in the tower, the dynamic brushstrokes that are well conceived and controlled all seem to project a more mature approach to art. Could these “children” be in their late teens, college age, or young adults [MECA says they were 9 to 11 years old]? According to the the quote, “much of the artwork was produced by children.” I wonder how “much”? Also, it is possible that the “children” were directed by an adult who supervised and perhaps completed the initial drawing?

A long time avocational artist said:

The sureness of the color application — especially in the dense, complicated scenes (which are obviously all done by the same person) — is at variance with the primitive (faux-primitve, frankly) nature of the sketching. It’s the use of color especially that gives it away to me as the product of an older person. But the complexity of the composition in the big scenes is uncharacteristic of 9-11-year-olds as well. Certainly the politicized content is atypical.

The sureness of stroke in these pictures is something you almost never find from a very young artist. The biggest giveaway I see in this regard is not actually in the complex, refined drawings, but in the more primitive ones. For example, the confidence with which the concertina wire is sketched in, in one of the primitive crayon drawings, is just not characteristic of the young. I was accounted an exceptional artist in my K-12 years, and I couldn’t have achieved that confident, bold, rapid-stroking effect until I was at least 16. It’s one of the hardest things to do, and you really do lack the coordination and focus for it when you’re younger. A kid would draw that laboriously, with a lot of short, stubby strokes strung together — or he would simply achieve a cruder, less symmetrical and more tentative effect.

These drawings don’t look like those of unusually accomplished children. They look like trained artists imitating the style of a child.

An art teacher and art historian wrote:

[These] pictures indeed does not resemble children’s art, especially not of elementary school age.

The first picture: the space is depicted in a very sophisticated way, with overlapping structures that decrease in size as distance increases. The use of contour lines is nowhere close to the ability of a nine year old. And a dead giveaway of an adult artist: the clouds and shading AROUND contour lines. A child would never do that.

The second picture: it seems to me that an adult artist drew the outlines and let a child fill it in with color. The stark, securely drewn outline, the cutoff houses and the effective composition do not look child like at all. Children don’t build the human form from an unbroken outline.

Fourth picture: sophisticated use of one point perspective, very effectively positioning of the vanishing point at an asymmetric angle. Although the artist tried to add “childish” elements (the sun in the corner, anthropomorphic trees, clumsy figures), the whole composition was planned by an adult.

In short, I am convinced that adult intervention and planning were heavily involved in the production of these pictures.

The nearly unanimous opinion is that many of these pictures were not drawn by children. (One can also compare these drawings with an earlier exhibit of Gaza children’s drawings from 2002 to see the huge difference in quality.)

There is one other element that calls the authenticity of these pictures into question.

What is the first thing a child will proudly do when he or she finishes a drawing?

Why, they sign it, of course.

Yet  not one of the pictures is signed.

One would think that a children’s art exhibit showing such precocious examples of drawing would want to publicize the names of the artists – and elaborate on their own personal stories from which sprung such eloquence and experience. The artist’s story is often more compelling than the art. But, for some bizarre reason, we are deprived of this information. Could it be that the organizers don’t want the children to be interviewed?

Or is it simply that the children’s involvement in these works was minimal to none?

One anti-Israel website even tried to explain away this omission, adding the interesting “fact” that these art workshops must have only been occurring after sunset:

The art was often drawn and painted in the dark, because of limited electricity and frequent power outages. The names and ages of the artists are unknown, as Israel’s siege made it difficult to even get the art out of Gaza.

Really? Kids can spend an hour drawing an intricate picture but cannot find the ten seconds to write their names?

Astonishingly, this exhibit has traveled across the US and Canada in the past nine months, and not once has anyone asked the exhibitors to prove the provenance of the artwork. The emotional component is so compelling that it doesn’t even occur to the venues (or reviewers) that they might be victims of a hoax.

From all available evidence, however, that is exactly what these pictures appear to be. And the venues that are showing these pictures (as well as the book that was released with the pictures) are part of the deception.

21 Comments

  • Richard Blaquiere

    We in Fredericton were successful in recently having the exhibit postponed but the anti-Zionist dupeds the hosts and the exhibit ran despite our presentation of comments from the artists on this site. It would help our cause so much more if we had a name to hang the analysis on. The organizers also produced unnamed experts. Although th exhibit did run, I am not finished and would like to at least embarass the hosts and expose the organizers for the bigots they are. Please e-mail me at Richardb@nbnet.nb.ca if you can help.

  • even if these drawings are a lie… i suppose i could have gotten some professor or psychologist with some experience in “art therapy” to say these could have been drawn by children from gaza and i could have published a inverse of this article on a islamic controlled media source… even if these drawings are fake … it does not prove that israel did not kill more civilians (read women and children)than palestinians had killed israeli civies…i suppose its useless of me to post this on a website such as this… but if you read it… please do more research and form your own opinion…i might later discover that i was wrong but i own my thoughts today

  • I am the author of the FresnoZionism.org blog which is the source of the quotation that begins “The authenticity of the painting is remarkable for a child’s hand.”

    I interviewed a Professor of Art at a nearby university. She is an art historian and a Ph.D. I didn’t obtain permission to use her name, so I didn’t.

    You can imagine, given the viciousness displayed by many friends of the Palestinian Arabs, that she might not want her name used. But I’ve asked her anyway, and will provide it if she consents.

    Meanwhile, I can tell you that I personally interviewed her and the quotation is accurate.

  • Who wrote this article, and who are the anonymous sources?

    • I am a writer (ElderOfZiyon.blogspot.com) and if I would have permission to name the sources, I would. If you feel the experts I quoted are not trustworthy I invite you to take copies of all the pictures (linked in this piece from my post last year about it), take them to your local art school and ask the teachers there what they think.

    • This article is so ridiculous that it’s hilarious.

      An American child may not know what a watchtower, a soldier, a tank or a war helicopter looks like, but Gazan children do – 300 of them were killed during Israeli military operation “Cast lead” in 2008-2009.

      These drawings were definitely the work of children. Anyone working with children can see that, only crazy people who see conspiracies anywhere don’t.

  • Thanks for this enlightening article. At first glance, I would not have realized that adults had possibly drawn these. But once it was pointed out, it was clear to me that 9-11 y.o. children could not produce these. For me, the background shadings and choices of colors truly reveals a more mature artist.

  • I especially like the first one (the copy) with “Gaza” written at the bottom. Yes, during “art therapy,” the child just happened to write the name of his homeland using the Latin (European) alphabet rather than his native Arabic. Dang. What a prescient kid, to know that one day his picture would be chosen to tour Western countries where people don’t read Arabic. Wonder if he could get me tomorrow’s lotto picks or next year’s Superbowl winner?

    (And even more fascinating, the “child” even knows the rules for capitalization in English since the original says “GAZA.”)

    • Gazan children learn to write their name and Gaza’s name in English in primary school. Most schools are run by UN agencies and English is part of the curriculum.

      The children knew that their drawings would be exhibited abroad and they asked to write their names and the name of the place where they live in English, because at that young age they think everyone living outside Gaza speaks English.

  • 24/7….year in and year out… lies and lies and lies and lies. Goebbels himself would have been in awe of the Fakestinians. The invention and perpetuation of the ‘Palestine Lie’ has already gone on more than twice as long as the entire Third Reich.

  • Not surprising. For these types of people, whenever they can’t find evidence, they make it up.

    What’s really sad is that they resort to using children for their political ends.

    • What is very sad is to what ends the author of this article goes to push his conspiracy theory forward.

      It’s even hilarious to see that not only is this story written by someone who decided to remain anonymous, but all the people quoted as “experts” also wished to remain anonymous!

      This whole story is grotesque.

      These drawings were made by children who’ve been living in difficult conditions under Israeli blockade for many years.

  • Steve Bronfman

    Arabs are born liars, here is a recent facebook exchange after this Jordanian accused Israel of being Apartheid;

    Me; “Your country bans Jews from owning land or being citizens. You therefore live in a racist and apartheid country. Bitch”

    Dima Subeih “And you live in s country that kills children based on their Palestinian origin. Asshole

    Luckily I have Jew friends that do not think like you and many israelis. Think what u think .. just stay off my Facebook and do not contaminate it with ur hate messages”

    Me; “No it doesn’t. 99% of “children” who die are 16 or 17 year old Hamas fighters because ARABS make their children fight which is a warcrime

    Jordan bans jews from being citizens or owning land. You’re not denying it because it’s true. The only hate speech is practiced by ARABS

    40% of Israelis murdered by Arabs are women and children but only 10% of Arabs who are killed are childen of whom most are Jihadi fighters. Arabs brag about murdering Jewish children and target them including schools, school buses etc.”

    According to Arabs it’s hate speech to point out that Arabs (Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al-Quida, Hezballah etc) target civilians including children and use child soldiers and that Jordan and Palestine ban Jews from being citizins and owning land (the punishment is death for selling land to Jews).

    Arabs and Muslims are treated like children by the western media who holds them to a far far lesser standard than anyone else on Earth so it’s appropriate that they 1. lie about this and 2. get adults to pretend to be kids.

  • I particularly like the bomb/missile with the U.S. flag on the fuselage and the Israeli flags on the fins. Highly conceptual and something that does not exist and hence would not have been concocted by a child.

  • Michael Fenton

    I’m a professional artist and I work as a volunteer in art therapy with Atlantic Health. The assessments presented seem to agree that this art is almost all created by adults and not children. From my experience this seems to be an accurate assessment. The tightness, the perspective, the use of color, and the almost total lack of child ego markings suggests these were concocted. Even art created by children in places like Africa, Haiti, and Japan after the earthquake/sunami were clearly done by youngsters. These gaza pictures are not. So sad, because the real thing would be so much more effective and therapeutic.

    • The pieces could easily have been drawn by 14 year olds, as per the description.

      I thought this article was some form of satire mocking a certain type of Israel supporters, until I noticed that the first quote which was apparently solicited from an ‘art professor’ was actually from the comment section on the Elder’s of Zion blog and the article was serious.

      • James, even if you are right that the pieces were indeed drawn by precocious Palestinian teen artists, surely the first item displayed as evidence of shenanigans should raise some alarm bells, considering that it was simply plagiarised from a drawing by a well-known anti-Israel cartoonist.Proving the provenance of the artworks could clear up any lingering doubt about them, so why don’t the organisers seek to do so?

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