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Win Without War Education Fund Builds Temporary Memorial Art Installation On The National Mall Mourning The Number Of Deaths And Calling For A Safe Return Of Hostages And A Ceasefire In The Ongoing Israel – Hamas War

A Memorial Art Installation to Mourn the Dead and Call for a Ceasefire

White roses were laid out in circular rows to form rings, the flowers memorializing those who have died in the conflict.

Words: Yint Hmu
Pictures: Leigh Vogel
Date:

The scale of human suffering in the Gaza Strip and Israel over the last month is staggering. 

On Oct. 7, 2023, over 1,200 people in Israel lost their lives at the hands of Hamas. In the month since, the Israeli government’s campaign of collective punishment in response to the horrific attacks killed 10,328 people — over 4,000 of them children. 238 people taken hostage on Oct. 7 remain in captivity.

As a first-generation immigrant whose story is also rooted in oppression and violence and a decades-long quiet struggle for liberation — I wanted to someway, somehow, channel the shared sense of human suffering and the scale of death and destruction. 

Art has long been a powerful medium to communicate politics and policy. Through a conversation with a friend, I was inspired to create and install an artistic memorial on the National Mall. I designed the piece to convey a sense of deep and solemn emptiness, and quiet dissent to the current policy of the US government. 

Win Without War Education Fund Builds Temporary Memorial Art Installation On The National Mall Mourning The Number Of Deaths And Calling For A Safe Return Of Hostages And A Ceasefire In The Ongoing Israel – Hamas War
The Win Without War Education Fund has put together a temporary memorial art installation on the National Mall during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war to mourn the number of deaths, call for a safe return of hostages, and call for a ceasefire to safeguard people in Israel and Gaza from further violence on November 13, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Win Without War)
Win Without War Education Fund Builds Temporary Memorial Art Installation On The National Mall Mourning The Number Of Deaths And Calling For A Safe Return Of Hostages And A Ceasefire In The Ongoing Israel – Hamas War
The Win Without War Education Fund has put together a temporary memorial art installation on the National Mall during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war to mourn the number of deaths, call for a safe return of hostages, and call for a ceasefire to safeguard people in Israel and Gaza from further violence on November 13, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Win Without War)
Win Without War Education Fund Builds Temporary Memorial Art Installation On The National Mall Mourning The Number Of Deaths And Calling For A Safe Return Of Hostages And A Ceasefire In The Ongoing Israel – Hamas War
The Win Without War Education Fund has put together a temporary memorial art installation on the National Mall during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war to mourn the number of deaths, call for a safe return of hostages, and call for a ceasefire to safeguard people in Israel and Gaza from further violence on November 13, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Win Without War)
Win Without War Education Fund Builds Temporary Memorial Art Installation On The National Mall Mourning The Number Of Deaths And Calling For A Safe Return Of Hostages And A Ceasefire In The Ongoing Israel – Hamas War
The Win Without War Education Fund has put together a temporary memorial art installation on the National Mall during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war to mourn the number of deaths, call for a safe return of hostages, and call for a ceasefire to safeguard people in Israel and Gaza from further violence on November 13, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Win Without War)
Win Without War Education Fund Builds Temporary Memorial Art Installation On The National Mall Mourning The Number Of Deaths And Calling For A Safe Return Of Hostages And A Ceasefire In The Ongoing Israel – Hamas War
The Win Without War Education Fund has put together a temporary memorial art installation on the National Mall during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war to mourn the number of deaths, call for a safe return of hostages, and call for a ceasefire to safeguard people in Israel and Gaza from further violence on November 13, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Win Without War)
Win Without War Education Fund Builds Temporary Memorial Art Installation On The National Mall Mourning The Number Of Deaths And Calling For A Safe Return Of Hostages And A Ceasefire In The Ongoing Israel – Hamas War
The Win Without War Education Fund has put together a temporary memorial art installation on the National Mall during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war to mourn the number of deaths, call for a safe return of hostages, and call for a ceasefire to safeguard people in Israel and Gaza from further violence on November 13, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Win Without War)
Win Without War Education Fund Builds Temporary Memorial Art Installation On The National Mall Mourning The Number Of Deaths And Calling For A Safe Return Of Hostages And A Ceasefire In The Ongoing Israel – Hamas War
The Win Without War Education Fund has put together a temporary memorial art installation on the National Mall during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war to mourn the number of deaths, call for a safe return of hostages, and call for a ceasefire to safeguard people in Israel and Gaza from further violence on November 13, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Win Without War)
Win Without War Education Fund Builds Temporary Memorial Art Installation On The National Mall Mourning The Number Of Deaths And Calling For A Safe Return Of Hostages And A Ceasefire In The Ongoing Israel – Hamas War
The Win Without War Education Fund has put together a temporary memorial art installation on the National Mall during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war to mourn the number of deaths, call for a safe return of hostages, and call for a ceasefire to safeguard people in Israel and Gaza from further violence on November 13, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Win Without War)
Win Without War Education Fund Builds Temporary Memorial Art Installation On The National Mall Mourning The Number Of Deaths And Calling For A Safe Return Of Hostages And A Ceasefire In The Ongoing Israel – Hamas War
The Win Without War Education Fund has put together a temporary memorial art installation on the National Mall during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war to mourn the number of deaths, call for a safe return of hostages, and call for a ceasefire to safeguard people in Israel and Gaza from further violence on November 13, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Win Without War)
Win Without War Education Fund Builds Temporary Memorial Art Installation On The National Mall Mourning The Number Of Deaths And Calling For A Safe Return Of Hostages And A Ceasefire In The Ongoing Israel – Hamas War
The Win Without War Education Fund has put together a temporary memorial art installation on the National Mall during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war to mourn the number of deaths, call for a safe return of hostages, and call for a ceasefire to safeguard people in Israel and Gaza from further violence on November 13, 2023 in Washington, DC. (All photos by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Win Without War)

White roses were laid out in circular rows to form rings, the flowers memorialize those who have died in the conflict. The last insular ring of purple roses represents the hostages still held by Hamas. 

The circular field of roses was inspired by the craters left behind by rockets and airstrikes. At the center lives a memorial made up of stacked wooden crates, tea candles, and teddy bears, under the shade of olive trees. 

The art memorial mourned the staggering number of deaths, called for a safe return of the hostages, and called for a ceasefire to safeguard people in Gaza — and in Israel — from further violence. 

A ceasefire is not the end-all solution, but it is needed now to save lives and is a necessary first step to any workable path toward peace and justice. 

The ongoing military action by the Israeli government will not provide safety and security to the people of Israel. It only worsens the suffering of people in Gaza and continues the cycle of violence. A ceasefire can allow space for negotiations for the safe return of the hostages, allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, reduce tensions in the region, and prevent this war from escalating into a region-wide conflict. 

The current unending cycle of violence has to cease. When it finally does, the long process of grieving and healing can begin for everyone affected by this horrific violence — as well as having the hard conversations to find a shared political solution to the root causes of the conflict.

Yint Hmu

Yint Hmu is the Campaigns Manager at Win Without War.

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