Credit: O. Mansour

Genocide on a Poster

I am targeting the biggest companies complicit with the genocide, like McDonalds, Zara, and Estee Lauder. They should be scrutinized. And they should be held accountable.”

Igor Dobrowolski is a Polish artist, thirty-seven years old and from the small town of Jelenia Góra in southwest Poland. The town has a population of 77,000 and is described on several travel sites as the ‘prettiest town you’ve never heard of.’ While Dobrowolski’s hometown is unknown to many, he is well known to several CEOs and the Israeli government.

I uploaded the posters and shared them with people around the world.”   

Dobrowolski is one of life’s busy people. He rarely sits still and since hitting the art scene in 2016 with his Why Do You Exist collection, he has been prolific with exhibitions in Antwerp, Berlin, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Taipei, and Warsaw. However, it is his newest portfolio of work that is taking him viral.

On the morning of Tuesday April 16th Dobrowolski released a compilation of eight digital files – they were downloadable directly from his linktr page and were free. The files are high production-value posters for some of the world’s leading brands. He encouraged the public to print out the posters and “share them around the world.” By Wednesday morning Dobrowolski’s work was being discussed in boardrooms across Europe and the US as well as government offices in Israel.




In the real world there is a lot of positive support of Palestine. Don’t get me wrong, I did get some hate – but remember we have truth behind us. To stay silent and do nothing is the worst thing you can do.”

Dobrowolski‘s posters offer an honest alternative to the deceitful soundbites that bark from our television sets and the dishonest words that infest our news feeds. Dobrowolski is the proverbial spanner in the works, jamming up corporate and government propaganda machines as he and his volunteer band reclaim public spaces and speak truth to power: there is a genocide happening in Ghazzah.    


Worryingly for McDonalds and Estee Lauder, Chanel and Zara and all the other complicit brands he’s not done yet: “I did eight posters but it’s going to be much more.








Red, Black, White and Green

Source: Instagram

The design of the Palestinian flag is simple, but its history is complicated. Initially, the flag comprised three horizontal stripes: from top to bottom black, green, and white, with a red triangle on the lefthand side. Later the stripes were reordered to black, white, and green; the triangle remained unchanged. The flag quickly became a symbol of Palestinian unity but was not formally adopted until December 1st 1964.

In 1967 Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) banned the flying of the flag within the Palestinian territories of Ghazzah and the West Bank. Punishment was harsh, including imprisonment, and minors as young as ten years old are known to have been detained.

Waving of flags Amendment Order No. 1079 5: It is forbidden to hold, wave, display or affix flags or political symbols, except in accordance with a permit of the military commander.

The Order also prohibited artists from re-creating the flag, or anything resembling it, in their work.

In July 1980, Israeli Justice Minister, Shmuel Tamir, introduced an ‘Amendment to the Terrorism Prevention Ordinance.’  Tamir comes from Zionist stock: his father was a member of the Jewish Legion, his mother served in the Knesset, two of his uncles were in the Irgun militia and his aunt was married to Zalman Shazar, the third President of Israel. Tamir himself served in the Irgun between 1944-1947, undertaking numerous terrorist operations including blowing up the British Income Tax Offices in Jerusalem, for which he was exiled to a detention camp in Kenya. Tamir was an open supporter of far-right, ultra-nationalist Rabbi Meir Kahane, so his amendment bill surprised few when it declared the waving of a Palestinian flag a terrorist offence. In one swift move he criminalised the Palestinian flag not just in Ghazzah and the West Bank, where it was already banned by the IOF, but also within the ‘48, or pre-1948 borders.

Much has been written about the substitution of the Palestinian flag with a watermelon symbol during this period. Both share the same colour palette, but there is no documented evidence suggesting this was the case before the second Intifada, which began in 2000.

What we know is the watermelon was in fact first evoked by Sliman Mansour, Nabil Anani and Issam Badr as a symbol of Israeli censorship and the curbing of artistic freedom. In 1980, the trio had a showing at Gallery 79 in Ramallah (the gallery was named in recognition of the year it opened) but the exhibition was shuttered within three hours as the IOF deemed too many pieces on display bore the colours of the banned Palestinian flag.

Frustrated Badr asked: “What if I were to make a flower of red, green, black and white?

It will be confiscated. Even if you paint a watermelon, it will be confiscated” replied the soldier.  

The Palestinian flag was de-criminalised in 1993 as part of the ill-fated Oslo Accords.

In 2014, Israeli police were authorised to confiscate the Palestinian flag if used to assert national identity. In January 2023, Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir instructed police to ban the flag from public spaces.

There are currently eleven bills in the Knesset that if passed would outlaw the use of the Palestinian flag.

In November 2023 TechCrunch reported the tag for the watermelon emoji had over one billion views, and speculated the watermelon was now more universally used to represent Palestine than its flag, having transitioned from signifying censorship to symbolising national identity.  

Source: Instagram

The Palestinian Story as Art

P21 is a stylish space. Over two floors the venue boasts a small café and a large expansive studio with stretched white walls and a low hung ceiling. It’s nestled amongst learning and cultural institutions – the world-renowned British Library, the creative hothouse of Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design, the University of London, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), the University of Westminster and the London School of Economics (LSE) are all nearby neighbours.  

But what makes P21 particularly interesting on the day I visit is the From Palestine with Art exhibition which is on loan from Palestine Museum US.

The exhibit features a diverse range of talented Palestinian artists and seeks to shed light on their experiences, history, and aspirations.”

Palestine Museum US is busy telling a global audience about the Palestinian story ‘through works of art, film, literature, and mixed media.’ It has hosted a series of exhibitions most notably showcasing as a Collateral Event exhibit at the 59th Venice Biennale. Some of what was shown there is on display at P21. The works are clever, rebellious, and haunting.

There is a black and red Thobe at the entrance. Thobes are dresses, simple in shape, that date back to the Ottoman Empire. They are typically made from homespun fabric and feature embroidery or tatreez. The tatreez can be highly significant because they tell of personal stories, a living history. Some carry the symbolism of struggle and resistance, others simply weave in the colours of Palestine – red, black, white, and green. The embroidery is done over extended periods of time, and by hand. As a valued family heirloom, Thobes are passed down from one generation to the next.

This Thobe stands eerily empty, vacated, and hollow. You are left worrying what a world without Palestinians would look like.

Credit: Sul Nowroz

Next are two keffiyehs. They are tied up as bundles, simple knots protruding from their top are fastened to thin coiled wires. You sense anticipation – a sudden tug from Jannah, our final heavenly abode, which seems to come too soon for too many Palestinians. 

Credit: Sul Nowroz

It’s colourful and large. Nine screens plunge us into the chaos and frenzy of violence. Helmets and flak jackets for some – but not for all. Conflict is maddeningly random; resistance is survival, not a choice but a necessity. I wonder how many future generations of Palestinians already have their life scripts written for them.

Credit: Sul Nowroz


It was made of discarded metal panels. Small sheets from containers and barrels and some from bombed-out cars. One large panel, a door from an ambulance damaged by Israeli tank fire, had Red Crescent printed across it. The vehicle was attacked in 2002, killing Palestinian doctor Khalil Suleiman in the process.

The panels were patched together, quilt-like, to produce Al-Hissan, or The Horse. Since 2003 it stood on a roundabout at the entrance to Jenin, in the West Bank. At sixteen feet high it stared out towards the city of Haifa, where many of the displaced in Jenin are originally from.

Al-Hissan, Jenin – Source: @Hanine09

On October 29, 2023, Al-Hissan was ungraciously removed, hauled down the street by an IOF bulldozer, its face dragging along the road. It was later cut up and destroyed. The roundabout is now an empty space – but it is imbued with the symbolism of defiance and remains a flash point for resistance.

Al-Hissan, Jenin – Source: @Hanine09

Yisrael Koenig and the Art of Resistance

The Koenig Memorandum, written by Yisrael Koenig, was one of the first classified documents detailing Israel’s deliberate policy of ‘discrimination and containment’ of Palestinians to be leaked to the public. The document, written in 1976, focused on four areas of control, and notably one was education.

The memorandum strongly advocated steering Palestinians towards technical subjects and away from the humanities in a delusional belief that this would weaken Palestinian capacity for ‘dabbling in nationalism.’ It was a bizarre conclusion but highlights the fear and alarm Israel has regarding the branches of knowledge that concern humanity, society, culture, and expression.

Art has always been part of resisting the settler occupation inflicted on Palestine by Zionism and its sponsor states. And with the occupying regime once again outlawing flags and censoring colours, suppressing artists, and assassinating writers we can only assume the art is proving effective.

©2024 Sul Nowroz – staff writer