RAMALLAH: Ayman Abed Rabbo, a Palestinian in his mid-40s from the village of Quosin near the West Bank city of Nablus, is a talented man who turns waste into artworks.
With a knife in his hand, Abed Rabbo sits on the floor as he transforms an old car tire into a brightly colored chair.
“Turning solid waste into artistic pieces is a clear message to every Palestinian to maintain a good and healthy environment,” said Abed Rabbo, who spends several hours every day recycling used tires into masterpieces, including toys that impress the younger village residents.
The Palestinian said he feels glad to be able to do this kind of art.”It is necessary to get rid of solid waste and recycle it into a proper form to create a safe, healthy and beautiful environment in our society,” he said.
Abed Rabbo’s talent blossomed when he was a teenager.
He said that the hard times he endured in his childhood provided an incentive for him to make some of the toys that he couldn’t afford.
Abed Rabbo was imprisoned for 14 years in an Israeli jail, where he developed his talent. During his years behind bars, he invested into nurturing that talent. He would turn solid olive seeds into rosaries, fruit seeds into keychains, and empty metal toothpaste packs into the shape of the golden Dome of the Rock, an Islamic shrine on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem.
After he his release in 2010, he became a professional trainer in turning common waste into pieces of art.
Abed Rabbo now works at the Palestinian Ministry of Environmental Affairs. He has run training courses at high schools, universities, community organizations and government institutions.
He said he makes art and toys from remnants of tractors, bulldozers, empty metal cans and bottles of soft drinks and soda water.
“During these training courses, we used 13,000 plastic bottles and 20,000 used black tires,” said Abed Rabbo, who works as a volunteer.
The aim of training people in the West Bank, he said, “is to contribute to building up a generation that respects the environment and helps rescue it from destruction”.
Adallah al-Atira, head of the Palestinian Environmental Authority, said that her office highly appreciates Abed Rabbo’s creative talent and that is put to a good cause.
“His main goal is to protect the Palestinian environment from being damaged,” she said.