by Victor Carpentier
Art has been for centuries the veins that carry committed artist’s inspiration through paint, ink and whatever else.
It allows every person, from any political, national or political status to express their emotion in the way they feel is most expressive and appropriate. Throughout history, through discoveries, revolutions, inventions, social and political changes, artists have been traditionally the spokespersons for the silent population. Through frames, drawings, etchings etc, artists have depicted their time and their singular conjunctures with passion and expressed messages of Hope, Fear, Joy, Pain, Pride and so many of other human emotions.
As an escape from their physical impotency, art is a way to mentally express one’s opinion as a genuine and honest mental emancipation. It is a real symbol of commitment and resistance.
Of course it not always expresses the kind of peaceful messages we could wish, as art can also be badly used, but this article gives some examples of how art can silently and peacefully fight for peace.
In the deadly silence of the divide between the different walls separating Palestine from Israel, the biggest symbol of the conflict, a small number of artists have risked drawing and painting messages of Hope and reconciliation between these two cold neighbors. Since the renowned British artist Banksy was among the first artists who dared paint on the new Wall-Of-Shame, silent actors or victims of the conflict have done the same.
Anonymously for some, publicly for the activist others, this wall has been covered by different frescoes, real testimonies of how they see the conflict and what they sincerely hope for the future. They face being incarcerated and severely punished.
The Israeli Separation Wall, 400 kilometers long, now displays more than 3000 pieces of art, real testimonies, prayers, mixing humor and concrete sorrow.
What the Internet is offering to this “vandal” artistic initiative is a relay throughout the world through art websites, social networks, newspapers etc. As the most photogenic symbol that proves an account of the depth and the seriousness of this separation, this wall which carries these messages of pain and hope is the “message in a bottle” the “carrier pigeon” of the forgotten voices beyond the wall. No need to hear them, no need to read them (as anyway nobody give us the opportunity to) we just need to see pictures of this wall, dreams of hope, peace and reconciliation, to understand their calls.
To talk about the global reactions, peaceful associations raise money to perpetuate this artistic movement as a solid means of expression for population under occupation.. For example, Fariss and Youssef, two young Palestinians hope to reach an international public by peaceful actions like this. Art before stone and art before terrorism, seem to be the slogan of this phenomenon.
“We are dreamers but we’re not utopians. We know that our project won’t be sufficient to make this wall fall down but at the same time we do it hoping that it may contribute”.
“We all tried, the world tried: From a political point of view, United Nations, wars, it didn’t work out… Maybe this more pacifist approach which attracts the entire world, can produce something more human”
So, in conclusion, even if art is not enough to cause a wall that big to fall, it helps populations to be heard and understood all over the world, and provokes impulses of solidarity and financial help through the social networks as well as in the mind of all strangers not concerned nor informed about what really happens there. More than a way to participate in dialogues, it’s an authentic call for international knowledge of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As art is a silent loud cry, the world cannot still ignore the state of apartheid felt by Palestinians on the other side of the wall.
Accessible to every age, every nationality and every kind of person, we should reconsider the space we give to art in the path of such a long awaited and relaxed dialogue about a potential peace in Israel and Palestine as two neighbors and two equals States.