Jerusalem, Travel

Exploring the Peace Process (or lack thereof) through Art

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the privilege of seeing several Israeli and Palestinian interpretations and explorations of the conflict (what a terrible and passionless word) through their art. None of the artists pretend to present any solutions, but it’s been eye-opening to me to see how each of them sees the pain, the peace process, and ultimately, the need to find a way to coexist through the lens of their art.

The first was an opportunity to see incredible film and performance by David Broza. He and several Israeli, Palestinian, and American artists spent a week in East Jerusalem recording an album and exploring the conflict through music.

The second was a beautiful and heart wrenching exhibition on the Art Museum of Tel Aviv called “This Place.” In the words of the exhibition itself, “THIS PLACE explores the complexity of Israel and the West Bank, as place and metaphor, through the eyes of twelve internationally acclaimed photographers.”

One of my favorite projects was one by Wendy Ewald. She worked with students in fourteen towns, in both Israel and the West Bank, to teach them photography, then set them loose to interpret their lives and their towns through the lenses of cameras.

Checkpoint in Hebron, by high school student Sharif Hassan

The exhibit was quite thought provoking, especially so because it was curated by the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Here in Jerusalem, it’s sometimes easy to choose sides and to get caught up in narratives of “us” vs. “them.” One of the lessons I took away from the artistic collaborations I’ve seen over the last few weeks is a reminder of how blind that narrative can make me.

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