After the artists research trip to Israel and Palestine, ArtUp received funds from The Investing in Professional Artists to bring in Palestinian artist, Basha Alhroub to the US in July.
Much of Bashar’s time was spent learning about the invisible walls that separate cultures, neighbors, and ideas from one another here in the States. He traveled from NYC to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont…smoking the whole way!
Bashar cooked for us, made art with us, researched his installation, met with Pittsburgh Filmmakers and created footage for a film to open in Tunisa and Jordan in 2015. He toured The Hill District, The North side, the East End, Braddock and Homestead steel mills, museums and schools, meeting with artists, educators and community activists.
The following are a continuation of images of the artists, speakers, places visited and quotes from the Pittsburgh team:
We leave the church for the most delicious falafel, foul and hummus we've had the entire trip (and we have had a steady diet of it). We eat in an early refugees basement establishment. When I say basement, we are talking about stone caverns that have become cool refuges, shops and homes. We then visit Palestinian artist Munther's studio. He and his brother Ibrahim moved back from Ramallah to start some kind of cultural life in the town where there is no awareness or support for contemporary art, no scene whatsoever. Munther's makes paintings of a Palestinian "terrorist" watching TV with his family, and doing other ordinary things. He and his brother, a young performance artist, hope to turn their studio into public gallery and, if they can raise the funds, buy the place next door to start a coffee shop and meeting place.
At the Tent of Nations the fog comes in so quickly. Air raid sirens (test) is no test. Its amazing sound that booms throughout the valley is meant to be the voice of an omnipotent god proclaiming their wrath. It caught us unprepared and went unrecorded.
Tent of Nations ( www.tentofnations.org )
We wait for the Friday prayers to end, which is when everyone goes to the wall. We walk along dirt roads, past scarecrows and a sway backed emaciated donkey and hear and see the settlers from afar yelling and waving from the precipice of the sheer rock that creates a fortress-like effect.
Recognizing how little I really know, I understood my role on this maiden voyage to be one of listening and learning. Our power-packed itinerary of meetings, home stays, and neighborhood tours with Israeli and Palestinian activists, artists, curators, border crossings, homestays, and demonstrations felt like a tidal wave. Coming up for air did not seem to be an option… As I continue to unpack the massive spectrum of perspectives we experienced on this first mission, I am starting to GET that there is something constructive that we might be able to do.
Gigapan training from Israeli artists to maker of 5 BROKEN CAMERAS, Bil'in
Tear gassed in Bil’in today and we weren't even that close to the wall. Stayed with head of bilin council, brother of director of 5 Broken cameras. Celebrated his 8-year-old daughters birthday with extended family. Met director too and gave him special camera .
Everyone we've met has said that they want the right to return, but that they realize that does not mean they want to displace Israelis who have also been born in this land. They realize that such displacement would also be painful, but want the right to return and the right to buy and own land where they once lived, even if not reclaiming their former homes
It was surprising and humbling to see many examples of a steadfast desire for a diverse culture. People throughout the region are finding very creative ways to refuse to be enemies despite an overwhelming infrastructure that chips away at their basic sense of human dignity and friendship on a daily basis.
The Official Sites of Passage Blog