Luke Jerram’s giant moon artwork presented in West Bank refugee camp to show solidarity.

On Saturday 16th September 2023 UK artist Luke Jerram’s giant moon artwork was installed in a refugee camp in West Bank to show solidarity with the Palestinian people and bring a message of hope. The project was delivered in collaboration with Al-Rowad Centre, Inad Theatre and Power Group.

Partially surrounded by 8-metre-high concrete walls built by the Israeli government, Aida Camp is one of 68 refugee camps in Palestine created by communities of people forced off their land, and out of their homes, towns and villages by Israeli armed forces.

The Museum of the Moon is a hugely popular touring artwork by internationally renowned artist Luke Jerram, measuring seven metres in diameter and features detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface.

Although invited several times to present the artwork in Israel, Luke chose instead to take it to a refugee camp to show solidarity with the Palestinian people. The Moon was installed by a team of Palestinian people trained by Luke on a visit to West Bank where he lived for a week in Aida Camp to meet with community leaders and learn about life there.


Some of the children thought the moon might be real, as they couldn’t spot the real moon in the sky. On seeing the moon sculpture, one child thought it could provide a means of escape.  One asked “Can I sit inside and you let go off the ropes so I fly with it?” I asked, “Where do you want to fly? he replied , “Anywhere away from here.”.

Many Palestinians in refugee camps still hold keys for their original houses, now rusted through lack of use over the decades. Palestinian camp inhabitants live in poor quality overcrowded conditions. Water and power are controlled by the Israeli government and are frequently interrupted. With 43% unemployment, some citizens are allowed to leave the camp to find work whilst many are prevented by the Israeli government from passing through border controls. Access to healthcare is limited and the camps are regularly attacked by Israeli forces. Read Guardian story about Palestinian children held in jails.

During his visit, Luke Jerram said: “Everyone here is traumatised through generations of repression and brutalisation. Grief and anger are passed down from one generation to the next. From what I’ve learnt in Aida Camp about the way Israeli authorities are treating Palestinians, the government has created an oppressive regime and a real state of apartheid.” 

“Though touring works internationally for over 25 years, I’m aware how public art often gets used by authorities to present a place as civilised, creative and democratic. I’ve been invited to present my touring artwork the Museum of the Moon in Israel several times now but have always refused because of the situation here. I’ve opted instead to present my artwork in Aida Camp, to show solidarity with the Palestinian people. I’d like the installation to highlight the continuing injustice of the situation here.”

The Moon has great significance in Arabic cultures, as a symbol of love and beauty which was also used for centuries as a light source for navigating the desert at night. The Islamic calendar is set by the phases of the Moon and is used by Muslims around the world to determine the timing of important religious observations such as Ramadan and Hajj.

“I’d also like the peace and beauty of the moon sculpture to help highlight the ugliness, brutality, and injustice of the concrete walls which are trapping and confining Palestinian communities. No child on Earth should have to live under such barbaric confinement” Luke explains.

“Whilst across the world people may be divided by walls and barriers, we are all connected by the night sky and a view of the same Moon. I hope through supporting the cultural boycott of Israel and presenting my work in the West Bank, the artwork gives hope to Palestinians and reminds them their plight has not been forgotten by the outside world.”

A spokesperson from Alrowwad, the not-for-profit community arts organisation in the camp said: “For the first time ever, people of Aida refugee camp and neighbouring areas will be able to view the full moon, without it being blocked by the apartheid wall, tear gas smoke, shadows of rubber and live bullets, nor screams of those in pain. For the first time ever, the Moon will be close and not in the sky behind the wall. For the first time ever, the moon is here to comfort those in agony, to give them hope for freedom and return.” Read more about the history of Aida Camp.

Alrowwad (Pioneers for Life) for Culture and arTs (ACTs) was established in Aida refugee camp-Bethlehem in 1998 and registered as a not-for-profit organization in August of 2003, under law Number 1 of Charitable Societies and Non-governmental Associations, 2000, by the Ministry of Interior of the Palestinian National Authority under the License Number BL-360-CU and license number 239/B/100/2009 in the Ministry of Culture. Alrowwad, initiator of “Beautiful Resistance,” is an independent, dynamic, community-based not-for-profit organization which strives to empower children and women by targeting behavior, knowledge, concepts and practices through creative and non-violent means.

Power Group – Sliman Mukarker is one of the founders of Power Group, established in 2012, working in the field of media and artistic production. The group creates a space for creativity; provide job opportunities for youth and women. Through the Group’s work they aim to lower youth dependence on companies and NGOs that apprehend their ambitions. Power Group consists of three sub-divisions: Power Help, Power Productions and Radio Power. Through Radio Power, Power Group devotes efforts to reflect the Palestinian youth’s point of view, towards the issues that they face every day.

About Aida Camp

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