GAZA CITY: When the first cases of coronavirus appeared in the Gaza Strip, three young artists wanted to contribute to curbing the spread of the pandemic.
The three friends used their talent for drawing to encourage people, especially children, to wear medical masks by decorating the protective wear with attractive drawings
In a small room in his home in the densely populated Al-Shujaeya neighborhood east of Gaza City, Durgham Quraiq, 23, and his friends, Samah Saad and Tamer Deeb, convert the masks into “artistic paintings” to encourage people to wear them and avoid transmitting the infection.
“We spend about four hours together a day; we draw on medical masks and distribute them for free with the aim of encouraging everyone to use them,” Durgham told Arab News.
The Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Health has recorded 91 cases of coronavirus, including nine in the Gaza Strip, and the rest in West Bank cities, which witnessed the first death.
The idea of drawing on the masks came to the artists because of the limited number of people who were wearing them.
“We thought that if we give the mask an attractive look in graphics and colors, this may increase the demand on it,” Durgham said.
As soon as they started publishing on social media pictures of their artistic masks, decorated in bright colors with beautiful drawings, they began to receive calls from all parts of the Gaza Strip to obtain quantities of them.
Their initiative, which is the first of its kind in Gaza, started with 20 masks distributed to the neighborhood’s children.
Durgham said: “Gaza Strip is a small and crowded area, and it is considered one of the most densely populated areas in the world. An outbreak of the pandemic will cause a humanitarian catastrophe, and everyone should bear its responsibility.”
Durgham and his two friends bear the costs of the masks and materials used in the drawing, as well as sterilization materials, and distribute them for free as their personal contribution to protecting society.
In the past few days Durgham’s house has been visited by many people who bring their masks and ask him and his friends to decorate them.
The artists’ works on the masks includes funny and lovable drawings for children such as pets, expressions of love and freedom, as well as terrifying drawings to raise awareness of the seriousness of the virus.
Artist, Samah Saad, 30, said that their initiative was continuous and free, so that the world could eradicate the virus and return to normal life.
Samah is married and has four children, the oldest of whom is a 10-year-old girl, and the youngest of whom are twins aged five.
She experimented with the idea of artistic masks for her children, and succeeded in encouraging them to wear them.
“Raising the level of social awareness about the need to adhere to the precautions is an individual and collective responsibility, and everyone should make use of their capabilities and talent in helping society to overcome this crisis,” she told Arab News.
Samah and her two friends are determined to continue their initiative, despite obstacles including scarcity of masks, the high prices charged for them, and the costs of drawing materials such as color pens.