Malak Mattar is a 16-year-old artist based in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory of Gaza. She taught herself to paint at just 14, looking for a productive way to channel her fear and use her confinement during the 51-day Israeli assault on Gaza in 2014. Since then, her work has been featured in exhibitions around the world, from Jerusalem to Spain to India. She recently had a solo exhibition in Bristol, England—despite not being allowed to travel there as a Palestinian with no internationally-recognized citizenship in any country.
In addition to continuing to work with children in Gaza, Malak dreams of eventually also helping children in Lebanon discover art as a form of self-expression for communities torn apart by war, dissention or other disasters.
"You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive." ~ James Baldwin
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