The Oldest Pottery Workshop In Gaza - Article

35 more in collection The Oldest Pottery Workshop In Gaza on the Brink of Vanishing

Gaza Strip Pottery Industry, 2013 Qosi Attalla, a four- year-old boy living in Gaza who is the youngest child trained in making traditional pottery in the area. Qosi, belongs to the Atallah family, the original family for the ceramics industry in Gaza. The Atallah family came from Akka, after the war in 1948 the family refuged to other countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt.  The Atallah family has perfected its role in the pottery industry. They inherited the tradition of ceramics form their ancestors . The belief in the Atallah family is that the ceramics industry is their destiny and their family is the best at making pottery and hold the secrets of the ancient trade like an old family recipe they only share with each other. Qosi and Mahmud are children who learned to make pottery because this is their families trade." I am very happy with this work, I have learned it from my father who inherited it from his father.” Mahmud said, “ When I was younger I used to watch him making pottery since then my passion increased," he continued faltering with shyness. Mahmud, assured his family that he will never give up this work and intends on developing his talent more. He dreams about being in the Gunnies book of world records as the smallest child who can make pottery. The father of the boys, Mustafa Atallah 35 said , “This industry is about to vanish for many reasons,". One reason he described is the prohibiting of exports after the war in 2006. Before the siege on the Gaza strip they used to export many of their pottery artifacts to Europe and many other countries, but after 2006 everything changed. Another reason he added was people’s lives have changed and the younger generation finds it hard to accept this kind of work. Mustafa, will teach his children the trade because it is family tradition. They will study and work where they please but will maintain pottery as a hobby. Mustafa is not attending school because he is dedicated to his job at the families ceramic factory. His job includes repairing broken bowls, pitchers, flower pots and vases, also making new pieces and creating the clay. Regarding the types of clay and the colors, Mustafa believes each land carries a mud that reflects the color of its people an identity, “ If the people are white then the clay is white and if they are brown then its brown and so on,” he continued, “ We use to mix our own land for clay, but because of the Israeli siege we have to bring in mud from the eastern Gaza borders areas that is claimed by the occupation,”. One of the more Gaza, Palestine June, 2013 frequently produced ceramic at the factory is a large black vase called Al-Qedra which is used for cooling a traditional Gazan meal out of rice, meat, garlic and onions. The small factory is tucked away under the Atallah’s family house they considers this industry  a part of their family and everyday life. They work six days a week for 12 hours a day. Mustafa and his family hope as most Palestinian families do to live in peace and to carry on their traditional way of life and work. Dr. Nihad El Mgani, is an expert in Palestinian tradition and craft assured that this industry started a long time ago since before the Canaanites and stayed prevalent through the ages and civilizations that came through Palestine. Mgani said, "Pottery making is one of the first forms of work in the region, but lately it had decreased due to the competition of other utensils, ceramics, and Chinese imports,”. Mgani said, "Pottery goods still are very important to the tourism sector which stopped due to the political situation; however, it is expected to swell with the improvement of security and the economic situation here,”. He pointed out that Attallah, Hajazi, shobaki, and Goha families are the original families who have worked in pottery in the Gaza Strip. These families inherit the ancient trade and the culture that comes with it and intend on passing it on to generations to come.

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