© 1995-2018 _Cecilia Mandrile

Yusef & Yusef

Hiding in the alleged ‘last supper’ underground site, there were two boys playing and selling olive tree brunches. They asked me to take their picture. They were proud of their friendship and laughed introducing themselves under the same name. Here there were Yusef & Yusef. As we climbed up the stairs, we emerged into an unsettling atmosphere. It was Jerusalem, July 2006, the ‘Lebanon War’ had started, again.

Yusef and Yusef have been constantly in my thoughts, but I have no ‘address’ where to send them the portrait for which they have posed so proudly. Now teenagers, I wonder if they have survived the successive tragedies that turn Palestinian childhood into an absurd target.

 I felt these days that perhaps they may not have wanted the portrait for themselves, but asked me for this picture as a testimony that even growing up within the vulnerability of displacement and fragility of constant attacks, they are still children who believe in friendship and want to play beyond hide and seek.


Sadly, eight years later, this portrait became very significant again. Witnessing helplessly the loss of lives and hopes of Palestinian children, I have drawn Yusef & Yusef on stone and printed a limited edition of lithographs with the aim to support the precious medical care that PCRF is providing them. On July 2014th, the whole edition was sold out to benefit PCRF' mission. The Palestine Children's Relief Fund is a non-political, non-profit organization dedicated to healing the wounds of war, occupation and poverty for children in the Middle East, regardless of their nationality, religion, race or gender. 

 For further information and donations, please visit http://www.pcrf.net/