Palestinian visual artist Fathi Ghaben died at the age of 77 in Gaza after being refused travel for treatment (social networking sites)

The Palestinian Ministry of Culture mourned the visual artist Fathi Ghaben, who died today, Sunday, in the Gaza Strip, at the age of 77, after suffering from illness.

The ministry said, "Ghaben's departure constitutes a loss to Palestinian art, which witnessed important transitions through him towards embodying Palestinian life, Palestinian asylum, the camp, and the traditions of life in the country that he dedicated his life to immortalizing in his art."

She added in a statement that “Ghaben, who was suffering from severe chest and lung problems, needed to travel abroad to complete his treatment, due to the lack of medicines and oxygen in Gaza, but the occupation authorities did not allow him to leave the Strip.”

Fathi Ghaben was born in the village of Harbia in the northern Gaza Strip in 1947. His mother carried him during the Nakba and was forcibly displaced to Gaza, where he lived his life in Jabalia camp.

He became professional in art early, and dedicated his life to it.

Ghaben worked as an advisor in the Ministry of Culture, and President Mahmoud Abbas awarded him the Order of Culture, Science and Arts (Creativity Level) in 2015, and he won many international honors during his rich artistic career.

Minister of Culture Atef Abu Seif said, "Palestine was always present in all its details in Ghaben's works, who carried with him the life of the Palestinian village and camp and refuge in the world through his skillful brush."

He added, "He lived camp life in all its details, and drew it with extreme precision. He immortalized the life of the Palestinian village that the Nakba wanted to erase, remembering his village of Harbia, in which he was born. He drew the field, the threshing floor, the wedding, the harvest, and the birth, and he drew houses, faces, and roads."

He added, "Fathi, who lived his first year after breathing life in a tent on the sands of northern Gaza in the Jabalia camp, was destined to leave because the occupation prevented him from traveling to Egypt."

Abu Saif continued, saying, "Fathi lived his life in a tent, and died in a tent," adding, "The tent is not the fate of the Palestinian, but it means that the occupation will also disappear, just as the tent will disappear."

The cultural scene in the Gaza Strip lost many creative people in various fields who were killed in the ongoing Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip, while dozens of cultural centers, museums and libraries were destroyed.

Culture and creators are victims of the Israeli war

About 44 writers, artists and activists in the field of culture were martyred during the first four months of the war, in addition to 32 institutions, centers and theaters being damaged either partially or completely, according to a previous report by the Palestinian Ministry of Culture.

The damage also included damage to 12 museums, 2,100 old dresses and embroidery pieces from holdings in museums or personal collections, and 9 public libraries and 8 publishing houses and printing presses.

The Ministry stated that approximately 195 historical buildings, most of which were located in Gaza City, were partially or completely demolished, including those used as cultural centers and community institutions, in addition to 9 heritage sites and 10 historic mosques and churches that constitute part of the memory of the Strip.

The Ministry stated in its report that the occupation army intends to destroy public squares and demolish monuments and works of art there, in addition to destroying artistic murals in public places and along the seashore of Gaza City, mentioning that its crews monitored the destruction of 27 artistic murals.

The Ministry noted the great loss suffered by the Palestinian fine art sector in the Gaza Strip as a result of the demolition of the artists’ studios, whether those in their homes or those located separately, as they no longer had any of their paintings in addition to the destruction of the artistic works of sculptures, paintings, and musical instruments that they had owned. Institutions, universities and centers, not to mention personal art collections.

The Ministry said that there are massive thefts carried out by the occupation soldiers of artistic and heritage collectibles and archaeological finds.

She noted, "The occupation, as it continues its ferocious aggression against our people in Gaza after this killing has entered the fifth month, has not stopped targeting everything in the Strip, including people, stones and trees, which confirms the necessity of taking action in order to completely stop this aggression so that what can be saved." Saving it from our heritage and culture.”

Source: Al Jazeera + agencies