Drawing for Palestine to raise money and awareness at Bologna Children’s Book Fair

The exhibition and sale features original artworks from 56 illustrators and follows an open letter calling for action and increased support for Palestine.

9 April 2024

Drawing for Palestine is an exhibition of original drawings which aims to raise awareness and funds for Palestine at Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF), the largest festival for children’s literature. Organised by the illustrators Sarah Mazzetti and Andrea Antinori the exhibition features work by 56 illustrators, including Manu Montoya, Olimpia Zagnoli and Alice Piaggio.

To curate the exhibition, Sarah and Andrea reached out to fellow authors and illustrators who have experience creating children’s books and have been long-term attendees at BCBF. Due to time constraints, Sarah and Andrea gave contributors the option of donating any original drawing, and these pieces are now available to purchase at the fair. To advertise the exhibition and sale, Sarah and Andrea have designed a pair of posters and informative material, which makes explicit their advocacy for and support of Palestine.

The prices are standardised based on format and the price range is accessible, as Sarah highlights “the primary goal is fundraising”. All money raised will go to United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), an organisation that currently has 5.9 million Palestinian refugees registered under its care, providing water, food, education, healthcare and more.


Copyright © Andrea Antinori

The impetus for the exhibition followed an open letter and petition penned by children’s authors and illustrators Inda Ahmad and Sana Alfalasi in January, calling upon the festival to take action similar to that it took in 2022 following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, when it displayed books and art from Ukraine, and banned Russia’s participation in the festival. The letter also highlighted the death toll and injuries among children under the Israeli siege. According to Save the Children: “Nearly 26,000 children – or just over two percent of Gaza’s child population – have been killed or injured in Gaza in six months of a war which has decimated the health system and severed access to education.”

Upon reading and signing the letter, Andrea and Sarah felt it was vital to organise a show of solidarity. “It made it impossible for us to attend without trying to create a space for this topic,” says Sarah. “The BCBF is an important platform for us, and as authors and illustrators, we felt responsible for bringing a clear voice to what is happening in Gaza. Silence, on the other hand, would have been ethically unacceptable for us.” The fair’s responses to Sarah and Andrea’s proposal was “encouraging”, she says, with the BCBF’s director Elena Pasoli offering one of the largest stands in Pavilion 30 and confirming that there would be no Israeli stand. Since the festival started yesterday, Gaza has been a central presence, with multiple protests and presentations focusing on atrocities in the territory.

The festival and exhibition opened yesterday, 8 April, and will be running until 11 April.

GalleryArtworks donated to the Drawing for Palestine exhibition and sale


Copyright © Francesco Chiacchio


Copyright © Daniela Berti


Copyright © Manuele Fior


Copyright © Marco Quadri


Copyright © Adriana Marineo


Copyright © Cristina Amodeo


Copyright © Giulia Sagramola


Copyright © Eleonora Marton


Copyright © Paolo Bacilieri

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Copyright © Sarah Mazzetti

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English Literature and History, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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