Laila Shawa's photographic canvases, from which the lithograph series is inspired, are a testimony to the walls of Gaza during the last phase of the First Intifada. The series Walls of Gaza expresses the intimacy of the place and the transformation of the built environment that changed on a daily basis during that period. The walls became the surface on which the directions were announced because, during the Intifada, normal time was suspended, and each day was structured around strikes, confrontations, and commemorations. The walls become a testimony to Palestinians’ attempts to reaffirm their identity. However, it is also necessary to realise that, outside the canvas, the Israeli Occupation Forces regularly enforced the erasure of graffiti from the walls. Palestinians in the Gaza Strip would not have had the opportunity to linger in front of the graffiti because they were subject to prolonged curfews; thus, the images preserve a moment in time of the political struggle. They remain a series of fragments of political instants, thus countering the idea that photography is able to encompass all the images of social reality, for graffiti is a form of expression adopted by those who cannot access the institutionalised modes of mass communication. For Palestinians whose national identity and territory have been disregarded, graffiti becomes one of the main forms of expression, accompanied by leaflets and songs, all forms that contributed significantly to organising and inspiring communities during the First Intifada.
Lithograph on paper