Greenpeace Activists Make Bold Statement on Gaza Conflict with Shepard Fairey and Belal Khaled Artwork, Madrid

A daring group of Greenpeace activists climbed the glass towers of Madrid’s Reina Sofia Museum to make a bold statement about the ongoing conflict in Gaza. Using a work of art by the acclaimed American visual artist Shepard Fairey (OBEY) and Gazan photojournalist Belal Khaled, the activists unfurled a 60sqm striking illustration that captured the world’s attention.

The artwork depicts a young Palestinian child covered in blood, with a poignant caption that reads “Can you hear us?” and a sign in the centre that says “unmute“. The image was accompanied by a large banner that read “Ceasefire Now”, a powerful call to action to end the violence and suffering in the region.

Photo provided by GREENPEACE ©Greenpeace/MarioGomez

“I feel morally obliged to amplify the message of Belal’s photography. I believe in solutions to disagreements that avoid violence. The tragic events of the last three and a half months in Israel and Palestine have saddened and upset me. First, I was shocked by Hamas’s murdering and kidnapping of Israeli citizens on October 7. I have since been shocked by the indiscriminate bombing and disregard for human rights and human life in Gaza by the Israeli military in response to Hamas’s attack. The denial of water, electrical power, and basic necessities to Gaza’s citizens, as well as their mass displacement, has no moral justification. I therefore stand with countless others demanding an immediate cease-fire in Gaza.”

Shepard Fairey “Obey”

The four Greenpeace activists skillfully unfurled the artwork, revealing it to the public below.

Photo provided by GREENPEACE ©Greenpeace/MarioGomez

The artwork by Obey was based on a powerful image captured by Gazan photojournalist Belal Khaled. This thought-provoking illustration is just one of many works created by thirty visual artists from across the globe who have come together to support the Unmute Gaza movement. The artists have created these pieces to pay tribute to the brave photographers and journalists who, at great risk to themselves, report from Gaza to bring attention to the horrific reality of death, pain, and destruction that is unfolding in the region.

Photo provided by GREENPEACE ©Greenpeace/MarioGomez

“The war is now in its 109th day and the situation in Gaza is desperate. The people of Gaza are facing a humanitarian catastrophe of huge proportions. We cannot stand idly by, we want them to know that we can hear them. Today, we join our voices with theirs and call on the parties involved and the international community to prioritise the preservation of human life above all else. The Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid is
known worldwide for, among other things, housing Picasso’s Guernica, a symbol of the suffering of civilians in war. There is no better place to denounce what is happening in Gaza, to reconnect with our humanity in order to put life before everything else, to demand respect for current international law and to call for a ceasefire through the work of two great artists, Obey and Belal Khaled.”

Eva Saldaña, Greenpeace Executive Director

The Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid is known worldwide for housing Picasso’s artwork, Guernica, which conveys a message that extends beyond the bombing of the town of Guernica. It is an assertion against the horrors of war and violence in general. The painting, often regarded as a symbol of universal suffering, highlights the obligation of every individual, regardless of their political affiliation, to speak out against violence and stand up for peace.

Photo provided by GREENPEACE ©Greenpeace/MarioGomez

The Unmute Gaza initiative has now spread to over eighty-three cities and thirty countries, from the Guggenheim in New York to Mumbai and beyond. This international effort has brought together artists from around the world, who have created free assets for the public to print and display as a show of solidarity with photojournalists working in Gaza. The Committee to Protect Journalists has declared the loss of 83 journalists and media workers in this conflict, making it one of the deadliest conflicts for reporters in recent history. The organisations have emphasised that collective punishment of the civilian population cannot be tolerated, and therefore, it is crucial to put an end to the vicious cycle of violence against innocent people.

Read more on Greenpeace involvement here.

Photos provided by GREENPEACE © Greenpeace/MarioGomez

Illustration by US artist Shephard Fairey, ‘Obey’ pays homage to an image taken by Gazan photojournalist Belal Khaled, which shows a Palestinian child crying for help.



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