Saturday, July 16, 2005

Palestine-Israel-US, Ramalla-Tel_Aviv-New_York: Three Cities Against the Wall 16 Jul

TO OPEN NOVEMBER 9, 2005 - Art Exhibition in Three Cities - Showcase Work of PALESTINIAN, ISRAELI, AND AMERICAN ARTISTS OPPOSED TO ISRAEL'S SEPARATION WALL NEW YORK Artists from three separate but vitally interconnected communities will participate for the first time in a one-of-a-kind art show that opens Nov. 9, 2005, in Ramallah, Palestine; Tel Aviv, Israel; and New York City. Three Cities Against the Wall brings together 56 painters, sculptors, filmmakers, and graphic artists united in opposition to the “Separation Wall” that Israel is constructing in the Occupied Territories of Palestine.

Participating artists, many of them internationally recognized, have contributed a wide range of works that movingly convey the conditions imposed by the Wall and the emotions and visceral responses it provokes. Some participants, Palestinian and Israeli, live daily with the conditions imposed by the Wall. Others have traveled extensively in Israel and occupied Palestine, absorbing the reality of the Wall and its disastrous impact on hundreds of thousands of Palestinians' lives. Three Cities Against the Wall also represents a hopeful development for the future of the Palestinian and Israeli peoples. Each artist has contributed three works to the show, one to be displayed in each city. In the two years they have been planning the exhibition, the artists and activists involved have built networks and created relationships that will sustain a long-term cultural network that opposes Israel's oppression of the Palestinian people.

In New York, Three Cities Against the Wall is organized through ABC No Rio, a community center for the arts on the Lower East Side, by a committee of artists and activists. In Ramallah, Tayseer Barakat, founder of the League of Palestinian Artists and curator of the Gallery Barakat, and Suliman Mansour, director of the Wasiti Art Center in Jerusalem, are organizing the exhibition. And in Tel Aviv, the project is organized by a group of artists and activists associated with the Israeli Coalition Against the Wall, Ta'ayush, and Anarchists Against the Wall.
Three Cities Against the Wall will run for one month in all three locations. For more information, visit the Three Cities Web site at

QUICK FACTS... Who is participating? Fifty-six Palestinian, Israeli, and North American artists, united in their opposition to Israel's “Separation Wall.” Internationally known artists who will be participating in the show include, from the U.S., painters Nancy Spero and the late Leon Golub and cartoonist Seth Tobocman; from Palestine, the painter-sculptors Tayseer Barakat and Suliman Mansour; and from Israel, video artist Galit Eilat, director of the Israeli Center for Digital Art, and the late cartoonist Dudu Geva. Each artist will be represented by work in all three locations. Why and how did Three Cities Against the Wall come about?

Two years of contacts and networking between artists and activists in all three cities created this show. Its purpose is fourfold: To united our voices in demonstrating our opposition to the Separation Wall; to better inform people about the true nature of the catastrophic situation created by the Wall; to demonstrate that within the Israeli and American publics there is opposition to the Wall; and to lay the foundation for a community of artists across borders.

When? Three Cities Against the Wall will open in Ramallah, Tel Aviv, and New York on Thursday, November 9, 2005, and run for one month in all three locations.

Where? In Ramallah, at Gallery Barakat; in Tel Aviv, at a location to be announced shortly; and in New York, at the art center ABC No Rio.

What kind of works will be featured?
Works will include paintings, carvings and sculpture, film, video installations, graphic works on paper, and photography. Will a catalog be available?

A full-color catalog, produced collaboratively by artists and designers in all three cities, will be available upon the opening of Three Cities Against the Wall. It will include essays by well-known Palestinian, Israeli, and American writers about the origins of the show, about the Wall and its impact, and about the role of the U.S. in creating and sustaining the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

How can I get involved or contribute to Three Cities Against the Wall? If you are located in the U.S., contact Steven Englander at ABC No Rio, (212) 254-3697.

In the process of creating Three Cities Against the Wall, the organizers and participating artists are building networks and creating relationships between their respective communities to oppose both Israel's oppression of the Palestinian people and the Wall as a symbol of that oppression.
Yet while American, Palestinian, and Israeli artists are showing their work together in this exhibition, we understand that the relationship amongst them is not one of equality. The relationship between Palestinians and Israelis has been compared to that between prisoners and guards, with U.S. cittizens as the patrons of this prison. Americans finance Israel through their tax dollars; some also finance Israel through contributions to Zionist organizations. The Wall is horrifying because it casts these relationships in concrete, making Palestinian imprisonment more thorough and more permanent.

Ironically, there is also an opportunity created by the Wall: this physical barrier makes the oppression of Palestinians more visible. Artists can use the Wall as a metaphor to educate the public. We are working together because we understand that, by uniting our voices, we are more likely to be heard and will therefore be better able to inform the public of the true nature of this catastrophic situation. We also want to demonstrate that within the Israeli and the American public there is opposition to the Wall.

We are laying the foundation for building a community of artists across borders, and will demonstrate, through combined effort, our opposition to injustice and oppression on moral and ethical grounds, and because injustice and oppression engender a separation between peoples, preventing normal human communication between them.

We believe that the world of the future is a world without borders. We support the right of a Turk to work in Germany, of a Haitian to seek refuge in the United States, of a Croat to live peacefully in Serbia. Thus we also support the right of a Palestinian, a Jew, or anyone else to live in the city of their choice, to enjoy all the privileges of citizenship there, and to travel freely to and from their chosen place of residence. This is not a radical demand but a natural human expectation. The attempts of 20th century governments to control demographics through genocide, forced transfer and other coercive means have been a disaster and such policies must be discarded. It is tragic that at a time when governments in Europe are discussing the possibility of open borders, Israel is building a border of cement and steel. We oppose the Wall because it is a wall against the future.

Information and Resources About the Wall:
Direct Action Palestine
DAP is a New York-based group that works in solidarity with Palestinian non-violent resistance to end the Israeli occupation. We mobilize, train, support and fund activists to travel to Israel/Palestine and to bring their stories home.

International Solidarity Movement
International Solidarity Movement, (ISM), a Palestinian-led movement of Palestinian and International activists working to raise awareness of the struggle for Palestinian freedom and an end to Israeli occupation. ISM utilizes nonviolent, direct-action methods of resistance to confront and challenge the Israeli occupation.

International Women's Peace Service
IWPS Palestine is an international team of 16 women based in Hares, a village in the Salfit Governorate of Occupied Palestine's West Bank. IWPS joins Palestinians in acts of non-violent direct action to oppose human rights abuses and the confiscation and destruction of land and property of Palestinian people.
Jews Against the Occupation
JATO is an organization of progressive, secular and religious Jews of all ages throughout the New York City area advocating peace through justice for Palestine and Israel.

Middle East Children's Alliance
MECA is a non-governmental organization, working for peace and justice in the Middle East; focusing on Palestine, Israel, Lebanon and Iraq. Its programs emphasize the need to educate North Americans about the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy, and to support projects that aid and empower communities.
The Palestine Children's Welfare Fund
PCWF was established by individuals whose goals are to improve the living standards of the children of Palestine in the refugee camps inside Palestine. The group aims to provide the children of the refugee camps with better educational opportunities, health facilities and a bright future without violence, hatred and discrimination.

Al-Awda - The Palestine Right to Return Coalition Fact sheets on the Wall Electronic Intifada: News and views on the Wall Gush Shalom - The Israeli Peace Bloc Maps and other materials on the "Separation Wall" Indymedia Israel

Palestine News Network The Palestinian Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PENGON)
Stop the Wall: The Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

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