Underground train travel to bypass a chaotic traffic system? Welcome to Gaza, one of the world’s most crowded places, where a conceptual art installation expresses this tantalising idea.
Palestinian artist Mohamed Abusal erected luminous red metro signs in 50 different, and often unlikely places, across the Gaza strip, the dusty coastal territory measuring 40 square kilometres and home to some 1.6 million people.
A map with seven lines connecting different parts of the enclave was designed and printed to accompany the project, which was so carefully conceived that some Gazans were tricked into thinking that a real railway system was under construction.
Abusala had his “vision” while observing Gaza’s anarchic traffic system, a tangle of donkey carts, motorcycles, rickshaws, and dilapidated old cars, not to mention the trucks plying the 40 kilometre route from the north to the Egyptian border in the south.
Line 1 of the imaginary metro is green on the map that leads from the Israeli crossing point of Erez to the Rafah border town in the south where a network of real tunnels carries smuggled goods and people to and from Egypt.
The artist dreams of his metro system being accessible to all, running on sustainable energy supplied by Egypt, immune to Israeli bombardments and blockades, not beholden to the region’s political twists and turns, nor with men and women segregated.
The photo exhibition of the project is running at the French cultural centre in Gaza City until January 17.