Oumniya means wish in Arabic. The artwork is presented in the form of seven transparent jars, each closed with a piece of shroud fabric folded in such a way as to evoke the wishes made by Palestinian artists and emailed to the artist by the director of the House of Culture in Ramallah on 30 March 2002. The artist received a number of wishes, but selected these because he could visualize them easily and it seemed important to give them a face. The following works were thus born: Oumniya-Aid: ghost-wish, Ouminya-Bayte: house-wish, Oumniya-Dawa’e: medicine-wish, Ouminya-Kitab: book-wish, Ouminya-Qareb: boat-wish, Oumniya-Raghif: bread-wish, and Oumniya-Zahra: flower-wish. The artist says, “I chose to enclose these wish motifs in jars because they are wishes that we can see: a bit like the children, who said what they said in all sincerity, without hiding anything. At the same time, these wishes are trapped, they will not come true.”
Below are the children’s wishes that the artist illustrated:
>> My name is Alayyan, I am nine years old. I cannot play in my courtyard. I cannot go outside of my frontdoor because of the curfew. I hid my toys because I am afraid the Israeli soldiers could me away because I had toy guns and tanks. I can’t even go into the store to buy candy because of the curfew.
>> Here is a letter from Rana to the whole world. Right now, my father is far away. When I first noticed that my sister and my mother cried while watching TV where we saw Israeli soldiers killing the men they had arrested, I thought my father was one of them. I began to cry and after a minute I asked myself why I was crying, this is our destiny. My father is a police officer and we have to resist.
>> My name is Lema and I am eleven years old. I want to go to school to finish my studies this year. I want to be free during the summer, to go swimming and to have fun. I want the Israeli soldiers to leave our country, to stop the occupation, and to stop using these huge tanks. We have nothing to confront them with. I don’t want them to occupy our houses or shoot at them.
>> My name is Ahmed and I am seven years old. Since the Intifada started, we started to move from one house to another. Each week, we live in a different house. The Israelis enter into the houses and scare people. When they came to Jerusalem, we moved to Ramallah, and when they came to Ramallah, we moved to Jerusalem.
>> Mustafa, eight years old. I want to say thank you to the foreign countries because they want to help Palestinian children. Our situation is very, very bad. Our cities are occupied, I am in Ramallah, it’s a total occupation by the Israeli soldiers, the city is filled with tanks and military vehicles. I am sad about the shuhada (dead) but our hospitals and our doctors will protect us.
>> My name is Yanal and I am four years old. I want to swim, I want to be at my home, to have a house and a window to look outside.
>> Heba, twelve years old. We very much want peace and security. We want love and affection. Give us our childhoods and freedom.