The latest painting from legendary Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick is titled “There is a real Wonder Woman.”
It depicts a young girl with a defiant face and a mass of curly hair on her head, resolutely holding a Palestinian flag. The girl is Ahed Tamimi, a 17-year-old who has been protesting Israeli occupation of her home since she was a little girl. Ahed was arrested after she slapped an IDF soldier. Her cousin had been killed earlier that day by members of the Israeli Defense Force.
This is not the first of his famous work. Fitzpatrick also painted the iconic 1968 poster of revolutionary leader Che Guevara. Fitzpatrick first came across Tamimi two years ago, when he saw a video of the then-15-year-old confronting armed Israeli soldiers. Her unwavering stance in front of the soldiers was, Fitzpatrick said, “nobility in the face of oppression”.
“Ahed Tamimi, to me, signifies nobility in the face of oppression. This is a kid, a child,” Fitzpatrick told Newsweek magazine in an interview. “When I was 15, I think I would have been petrified. Wherever she’s getting her courage from, there’s a resonance of it echoing across the world. I’m just a part of it. There are organizations doing more than I could do, but I do think the pen—in my case, the brush—is mightier than the sword.”
The name of the painting is a deliberate jibe on Hollywood actress Gal Gadot’s portrayal of famous DC superhero Wonder Woman. Gadot has not only publicly supported IDF and its occupation of Palestine, but also served as a pilot in the force.
Fitzpatrick wishes to remind the world that a teenager who fights against oppression for her people, and not a person who gloats at the systemic murder and impoverishment of innocent civilians, is the “real Wonder Woman”.
The artist’s motivation for drawing Ahed also stemmed from his concern for the teenager, who recently celebrated her 17th birthday while sitting alone in a cold jail cell. Her first hearing last week was held behind closed doors and journalists were barred from entering.
The conviction rate in Israeli jails is more than 99%.
“I’m afraid they’re going to kill her. And that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing,” Fitzpatrick admitted.
With his painting, Fitzpatrick hopes to remind the world that a Palestinian child whose family members have been killed by IDF is in an Israeli jail for “humiliating” a soldier, with slim chances of getting out alive.
The remembrance of Tamimi will, he hopes, push Israel into letting go of the teenager.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Ammar Awad