When Linda Bevis started her second career in teaching nineteen years ago, she noticed that the textbooks for high school world history dedicated about five paragraphs to Palestine and Israel. The Seattle resident, educator, and longtime activist knew how difficult it would be for any teacher to use that material productively. “While I actually don’t think the conflict is a complicated one, it cannot be explained in five paragraphs."
"We do this because we need to create a better Palestine, this means politically but also socially." Nayef Abdallah was born a refugee in Faraa refugee camp to a family who were driven from their home in Haifa during the Nakba - the events surrounding the creation of Israel in 1948 which Palestinians refer to as "the catastrophe". From such beginnings, few people would have imagined that years later he would go on to take Palestine to the world through a very non-traditional performing art.
The work of mysterious British graffiti artist Banksy has made an appearance in the Gaza Strip. In a short film posted on his website, the popular street artist appears to have sneaked into Gaza through an underground tunnel from Egypt. The video combines footage from the Israeli-Hamas war last summer, with political commentary about the coastal strip's misery.
Last week, Palestinian nonprofit the Welfare Association for Youth announced the results of its 2014 photography contest called "Gaza in Your Eyes." Out of hundreds of submissions, 13 young people were named winners. Each of their photos is strikingly different, but they all manage to capture the perseverance of beauty and hope against a backdrop of destruction.
For Palestinian-American visual artist Manal Deeb, memories of her childhood home in Ramallah are never far from her canvas. The Fairfax, Va., resident has lived stateside for decades, but her early life in Palestine saturates her work from every angle, and gives it a beautifully distinct, melancholy quality. Deeb's pieces include a mix of paint, collage, photography, calligraphy, and digital manipulation.
A wide smile spreads across the tiny face of 13 year old Mohammed Quraiqe as he looks at the range of art materials spread out in his hands and those neatly mounted on the wall beside him. Mohammed’s tiny fingers seem to know instinctively how to master every piece of art that springs almost spontaneously to life at his fingertips.
For the last several years, artist-filmmaker Alexandra Handal has spent much of her time researching the 1948 displacement of Palestinians from West Jerusalem. She gathered oral histories, photos, and documents from a generation whose numbers are now dwindling, and the result was her interactive web documentary art, titled “Dream Homes Property Consultants (DHPC).”
It's been nearly six months since the end of the latest war in Gaza, but the devastation left behind makes it seem as though the last bombs dropped only yesterday. Psychologically, too, Gazans are still shell-shocked and traumatized by a conflict that killed some 2,192 people — mostly civilians, and many children — and destroyed more than 96,000 homes in less than two months. The fact that this was the third conflict in a span of six years made it all harder, not easier.
The residents of Gaza find different ways of coping with life under occupation, and for a group of young men that call themselves the CB (Camp Breakerz) Crew, dance is a hugely important outlet. The group has been an organized break dancing team for over 10 years, and in 2012, they decided to share their passion with the community by opening a school called CB Crew Academy of Art in Nusirat refugee camp.