Handala is the most famous of Palestinian cartoonist Naji Al-Ali’s characters. Depicted as a 10 year old boy, he first appeared in 1969. In 1973, he turned his back to the viewer and clasped his hands behind his back. The artist explained that Handala represented his age when he was forced to leave Palestine and would not grow up until he could return to his homeland; his turned back and clasped hands symbolised the character’s rejection of “outside solutions”. He wears ragged clothes and is barefoot, symbolising his allegiance to the poor. Handala remains an iconic symbol of Palestinian identity and defiance.
In 2013, PGPF organised the Handala-Bring Him Home exhibition which focused on the Palestinian refugees’ Right of Return, Al Nakba (the catastrophe) and the plight of the 5 million Palestinian refugees who were forcefully expelled since 1948 by Jewish terrorist militias.
Handala-Bring Him Home was held at the Annexe Gallery Central Market, Kuala Lumpur.
“At first he was a Palestinian child, but his consciousness developed to have a national then a global and human horizon. He is a simple yet tough child, and this is why people adopted him and felt that he represents their consciousness.” —Naji Al-Ali quote from Handala.org