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Jeremy Deller and Cecilia Vicuña join poster project raising funds for Gaza

Artists including Jeremy Deller, Charlie Prodger and Cecilia Vicuña have contributed posters to a collection set up to raise money to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The project, What did you do… (2024), was devised by the UK publishing house Book Works to mark its 40th anniversary. It launched in February with Book Works’ own poster, emblazoned with the words “Ceasefire Now. Book Work(er)s Against Genocide”.

Since then, contributions have included a poster by Vicuña—who won the 2022 Venice Biennale Golden Lion award—depicting two arms cradling the sun. Also depicted are the words Sol Y Dar Y Dad referencing the Spanish word for solidarity, solidaridad. Speaking to The Art Newspaper, she said of the work: “Embracing each other with light, we may believe justice and compassion are possible on Earth.”

Jeremy Deller’s poster is rendered in the colours of the Palestinian flag—red, white and green

Courtesy of the artist and Book Works

Deller, who won the 2004 Turner Prize, contributed a poster featuring the words “Lost Children” rendered in the colours of the Palestinian flag—red, white and green. The British-Palestinian artist Rosalind Nashashibi, known for her acclaimed film Electric Gaza, went for a similarly simple slogan-based work stating: “Gaza Cease Fire Now”. The poster by Prodger, another Turner Prize winner, is a photograph of a window, a piece of paper stating “Free Palestine” shown in reverse on the central pane. The Swedish artist Karl Holmqvist’s, meanwhile, resembles a hand-drawn note with the words “Why!!?”

Charlotte Prodger’s poster

Courtesy of the artist and Book Works

According to the Gaza ministry of health, Israeli attacks have killed more than 34,000 people in Gaza—the majority of them women and children—since Hamas’s 7 October terrorist attacks on Israel, in which around 1,200 people reportedly died and 253 people were taken hostage. Based on reports by the UN on 5 April, 1.7 million people or 75% of Gazaʼs inhabitants have been internally displaced and 1.1 million face “catastrophic levels of food insecurity”. In January, the International Court of Justice stated there was “plausible” evidence that Palestinian rights need protection under the genocide convention established in 1951.

Cultural workers have been among those killed in the Gaza over the past six months. Cultural heritage has also been lost: a January report from the Palestinian ministry of culture listed 19 university facilities, 24 cultural centres and 12 museums as having been damaged or destroyed. Among these are the central archives of Gaza City, which completely destroyed by direct shelling, erasing 150 years of records on Gaza’s history.

The Book Works campaign is one example of how international publishers and writers have rallied in solidarity with Palestine. Publishers for Palestine, for example, have built a global solidarity collective of more than 400 publishers, including Haymarket Books, Pluto Press and Verso Books.

Rosalind Nashashibi’s poster

Courtesy of the artist and Book Works

All proceeds from Book Works’ initiative will go towards the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). Artists still to contribute include the Turner Prize winners Jesse Darling and Tai Shani.

A spokesperson for Book Works told The Art Newspaper that since the launch of the project their website has received “relentless” DDoS attacks (denial-of-service, a type of cyber attack).

Despite this, the response has been “overwhelmingly positive”, they said, adding: “The only real problem we’ve had has been not getting posters printed and posted fast enough.”

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