Fragments of Palestine

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‘To exist is to resist’: new art exhibition depicting the everyday occurrences and ordinary joys of life in occupied Palestine.

Illustrator and cartoonist Tim Sanders is a self-proclaimed ‘sketchbook obsessive’ who rarely steps foot outside his house in Leytonstone without a notepad underarm.

From tired commuters riding the district line to Herbert’s fruit and vegetable stall in Globe Town, his sketches are the work of minutes and capture the world as it moves around him. 

His new exhibition, Fragments of Palestine, displays Sanders’ in situ sketches from multiple visits to the West Bank, one of which he made just weeks before the October 7 attacks and the ensuing Israel-Hamas war. 

The sketches depict snapshots of daily life in occupied Palestine: parents taking their children to school, people going to the supermarket, and relatives sharing a moment of laughter.

Though Sanders drew the pictures in a period of ‘normality,’ he points out that life in the West Bank can never be considered ‘normal’ by those who haven’t experienced occupation. 

Former political cartoonist for The Independent, Sanders has made a career out of satirical sketches and political quips. 

But his pictures of Palestine are not strewn with slogans or covered in caricatures. They are simply sketches of moments in time, recording ‘all the stuff that everybody does always.’ 

Drawn in black ink and later brought alive with watercolours, Sanders’ sketches have been made into larger A4 prints for the exhibition in St. Barnabas Church in Bow.

Sanders says: ‘I want people to see human beings in these pictures. So you don’t look at Palestinians as abstractions, whether they be victims or terrorists or whatever they are presented as in the media, but just as people going about their daily lives.’