From a distance, the workshop of Abdel Jalil Razem in Jerusalem looks like a child’s playground, strewn with big, bright, colorful objects.
However, upon closer look, one discover that they’re all plastic items, from cups to water bottles, in every color of the rainbow, items collected from family, neighbors and local businesses over the course of many years.
Razem is a 52-year-old Palestinian artist and teacher, and during the holy month of Ramadan, he dedicates his time turning one man’s trash into another man’s treasure.
"I worked on a project to recycle rubbish, so I used all these plastic items that are a burden on the environment to create artistic objects. I used the lantern and ornaments to develop my idea," Razem said.
He incorporates traditional methods with contemporary techniques to create his lanterns, which illuminate the streets of Jerusalem.
"I started to use the used plastic cups and other discarded items such as fruit boxes and bottles to make lanterns and ornaments to light the Bab Hutta neighborhood (in old Jerusalem) and the Al Aqsa Mosque," Razem said, while crafting at his workshop in the Baba Hutta neighborhood.
One of his stand-out crafts is a quirky chandelier that hangs on the main road to Al Aqsa mosque in the city of Jerusalem.
"I chose this road because this is the main gate to the Haram Al Sherif compound. Many people, worshippers and visitors, pass through this gate," Razem said.
With the increasing demand of his plastic ornaments, Razem works months ahead of Ramadan to prepare orders.
This art teacher hopes to pass on his expertise to young learners.
Abdel Jalil Razem – Artist and teacher