The contrast between some of the images displayed on this page is surreal. It demonstrates the world of parallels in which we live. Humanitarian aid project, the Electric Circus has endeavoured to bring these distinct realities closer together with their traveling circus, which has taken aid and entertainment direct to individuals caught in the cross fire of conflicts raging through the Middle East.
Five years on and the project is still going strong as the Electric Circus returns tonight with yet another spectacular event to raise funds for Gaza. Taking place at Islington Metal Works, the event, which features a ‘musical mashup’ and cross-section of genres, fire shows, aerial acts, pole dancers, cinema and even a live radio link-up to Gaza – will fund a convoy that will travel with food, medical supplies, clothing and entertainment for the children of Gaza.
Ruth James (Skandalous Productions) and Terri Hosford (Fluorotrash Productions) launched the Electric Circus in 2009. Since that time, they have taken their convoy to various conflict zones across the Middle East, focusing mainly on Gaza.
Terri said: “The last time we were in Gaza, we managed to help someone re-build their home. This time round, our main aim is to provide more long-term aid solutions.
We’re aiming to help rebuild at least three homes. It might not be a lot of people, but it will make a massive difference to them. We just want to help give peoples’ lives back.
“Our plan is to reach out to women and children-based projects, UN shelters and orphanages in Gaza.”
From Matt Black to Mark Sinclair – tonight’s rocking fundraiser is being supported by all manner of artists and contributors.
Art exhibitions include those by photographer, Luke Cody who was in Shejaiya, Rafah, Khuza’a and Gaza City in the aftermath of the latest bloodshed. Luke also exhibited prints last weekend at Camden’s Inspiral Lounge. Funds raised from the sale of photographic prints will be donated to the Electric Circus.
He said:“I wanted to take pictures that would expose the human rights violations and absurdity of war.”
“The purpose of the exhibition is to expose not only the harsh reality faced by the Palestinians in the aftermath of the most recent war, but their strength and resilience despite extremely difficult circumstances.”
Over the last 18 months, Luke has covered political events in Turkey, Cairo, Kiev and more recently, in Gaza. “I never cover stories from behind police barricades. It’s always a civil angle, documenting from the perspective of the minority groups who want change.”
Artist Emma Watkinson also exhibits her latest works, including latest piece, ‘New Way of Life. The artist was in Gaza 20 years ago and will exhibit photographs of refugee camps taken at that time.
There will also be photographic works from Boris Austin, paintings by Daniel Mirante and digital art from Matt Cameron-Wilson. Proceeds from sales of all art work will go to the Electric Circus.
Terri says: “The aid raised at the Electric Circus parties, which can include cash, medical gear, circus kit, toys, kids clothing, winter coats, is usually driven across Europe to Egypt and delivered directly to people in need. This time round, because of the unstable political climate, we may need to consider access via Israel.
Over the last five years, the Electric Circus has traveled to Kurdistan, Iraq, Gaza and the West Bank. The traveling circus has performed to children in camps, schools and youth centres where they have also been handing out much needed food and medical supplies.
“There are no fat cat middle men creaming 80 percent of the profits involved and personal politics are left to one side. It’s not about Hamas, it’s not about Israel: it’s about direct, humanitarian aid getting to the children and families of Gaza.”
The Electric Circus are also in the process of launching album project, Disco Infitada, which featuring a wide spectrum of music from dub and punk to underground electronica.
Other fund-raising projects launched in aid of Gaza include the latest VA from London-based record label, Shanti Planti, who will donate 100 percent of proceeds to the NGO, Save the Children.