01 Work, MIDDLE EAST ARTISTS, The Art of War, Laila Shawa’s Target 2009, with footnotes

Henry Zaidan
3 min readFeb 29, 2024
Laila Shawa (PALESTINE, BORN 1940)
Target, c. 2009

Photographic print on canvas
130.5 x 130.5cm (51 3/8 x 51 3/8in)
Private collection

Sold for £ 6,000 in Jun 2009

Target 2009 was created as a direct response to the tragically high death toll amongst Gaza’s children due to Israeli military assaults earlier in 2009. A variation of the iconic Target (1992) from Shawa’s Walls of Gaza I silk screen series, it is also related to Targets (1994) from Walls of Gaza II created after the Oslo Accords. Favoured by the media, the image has since been reproduced countless times internationally. Whereas Targets (1994) illustrates by repetition the escalation of the political situation after the watershed agreements in 1993, Target 2009 refocuses on the individual child shyly lifting his hand and reluctantly signing for peace. Although the work nominally commenced in 1990, almost two decades on its message is poignantly contemporary. More on this painting

Laila Shawa (Born Gaza 1940) graduated summa cum laude in Fine Arts from the Italian Accademia di Belle Arti in 1964 and received a diploma in plastic arts from the Accademia San Giacomo in Rome. From 1965 to 1967, she returned to Gaza to teach arts and crafts to underprivileged children. She now lives and works in London. As a Palestinian artist, Shawa’s concern is to reflect the political realities of her country, becoming, in the process, a chronicler of events. Her work is based on a heightened sense of realism and targets injustice and persecution wherever their roots may be.

Her work has been exhibited in Italy, Germany, Austria, and the United Kingdom, in most Arab countries, North Africa, Iraq, Russia, China, Japan, Malaysia and USA. She is represented in public and private collections across the world, including the National Galleries of Jordan and Malaysia, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, the British Museum in London and the National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington D.C. Her work is currently on tour in Brazil, in the Centro Cultural Banco do Brazil’s exhibition Isla, the first major exhibition of Islamic Art in Brazil. More on Laila Shawwa

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Henry Zaidan

In my Blog is an Online collection of significant paintings from the 1st century to today; complete with art-history and artist bibliographies.