Six artists are offering handcrafted kites in an auction to support Gaza Mutual Aid Solidarity, an initiative that benefits families in Gaza through the US-based organizers’ personal networks on the ground. The sale, organized by the online artist archive This Long Century, spotlights the work of Anna Sew Hoy, Narumi Nekpenekpen, Stanya Kahn, Wilder Alison, Willa Nasatir, and Yto Barrada, each of whom created their own designs atop artist Ava Woo Kaufman’s watercolor paper, bamboo, and waxed-cord kites. All proceeds from sales of the kites, with starting bids from $500 to $800, will go to Gaza Mutual Aid Solidarity.
Artist Wilder Alison, best known for her vibrantly dyed wool paintings, crafted a delicately knit diamond that wraps and conceals Kaufman’s blank white form. The work features the colors red and green, which adorn the Palestinian flag and have gained further significance through the proliferation of watermelon imagery as a symbol of resistance.
Alison noted her intentional reference to the Palestinian cross-stich embroidery practice taṭrīz (sometimes transliterated as “tatreez”).
“Handwork such as taṭrīz is part of the cultural landscape being decimated in the ongoing genocide against Palestinians,” Alison told Hyperallergic. Israeli forces have killed more than 26,000 Palestinians in Gaza since the October 7 Hamas attack in which 846 Israeli civilians were killed. Up to 1.7 million people in the besieged territory have been displaced, accounting for over 75% of the Gaza Strip’s population, and a quarter of people there are starving and struggling to find safe drinking water, according to the United Nations.
The Gaza Solidarity Mutual Aid initiative is run by a small group of Palestinian organizers who requested anonymity out of fear of being targeted. The program was founded in November and claims to have facilitated projects ranging from water distribution to the delivery and installation of clay ovens that allow displaced Palestinians to cook. The campaign is financed by micro-initiatives, such as a recent fundraiser coordinated by the volunteer-run 8 Ball Community that organized tattoo artists to donate their proceeds to the Gaza Mutual Aid Solidarity initiative, as well as individual donations. The group says funds are then distributed to Gazans on the ground through the leaders’ personal connections there, without the intervention of international aid organizations.
Los Angeles-based artist Stanya Kahn crafted a field of vibrant red poppies, another symbol of Palestine, in front of a verdant green background. Two long banners of ribbon stretch toward the ground.
“I airbrushed the tails of the kite to look like the sky with soft clouds, a wish for the walls to come down, the borders to dissolve, and for a free Palestine,” Kahn told Hyperallergic. She spoke to the urgency Americans should feel toward stopping Israeli’s bombardments of Palestinians, “since here in the US our own government is fully complicit and supplying the bombs and blocking aid with our tax dollars.”
“I have been watching this struggle my entire life, and I’m 55 years old,” Kahn said. “As an anti-Zionist Jew, I am happy to participate in this initiative supporting Mutual Aid for Gaza. One day Palestine will be free.”