If walls had eyes: Graffiti gives a voice to the politics of Palestine
"The Arab spring has not only revolutionized street art but also inspired Palestinian artists to use city walls for creative political statements and to address social taboos — especially in Ramallah on the West Bank." Continue reading below »
The walls are closing in but that doesn't stop the creative process from subverting the state. If only they had ears they would say: Gaza is running out of clean water; Hamas and Fatah are no closer to reaching a deal and the Israeli settlements keep going. Palestinians use graffiti to express themselves when other tools are censored and they feel barricaded in by the Israeli Occupation. The very walls that confine them, also free them, as a conduit or canvas for their art and speech.
What have the Palestinians to say on the matter of censorship and state oppression? Grafitti and street art tell their story. Safe from the censoring eyes of the state through internet or media, they have at least the bare walls to make their mark on, un-fettered here, while strangled-in, within Gaza or prison. The result of the scratchings and drawings on public surfaces is art for politic's sake.
Palestinians have famously graffitied their imposed Wall (the Israeli West Bank Barrier) though some refuse to play a part in making what is a hostile towering barricade any more aesthetically pleasing. Instead, guest street artists have been more than happy to oblige filling the blank concrete space stretching 8 meters, including infamous Banksy. But those resourceful Palestinians don't have to limit themselves to Israel's wall for their canvas and can count on regular pre-existing walls and other stone structures to hand.
To the back drop of global street art exhibition, featuring many Arab Spring graffiti artists, "White Wall", in Beirut starting tomorrow, we take a look at the most recent raw exhibits coming to a street near you in Palestine, courtesy of journalist Lena Odgaard.
Free yourself to share your comments on the raw public art of the streets. Include thoughts on Palestinian street artists as well as other Arab graffiti artists operating this time.
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