Oakland Palestine Solidarity Mural

August 13, 2014 Art Forces, the Estria Foundation, and NorCal Friends of Sabeel

The Oakland Palestine Solidarity Mural is a monumental work of public art located in Uptown Oakland on 26th Street between Telegraph and Broadway. The mural pays homage to the history of Bay Area public art and expresses solidarity with Palestinians.

The Oakland Palestine Solidarity Mural adopts the image of the tree as a central motif and global visual signifier to link seemingly disparate issues and distant locations. Spanning 157 feet and reaching 22 feet high, the mural is comprised of nine separate panels, where each artist or team of artists has painted his or her own interpretation of a tree to address social and political issues.

These issues include the shared histories of colonization, environmental exploitation, internal exile of indigenous peoples, resilience and resistance to these injustices.

The twelve participating artists come from a wide array of backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures. They include Dina Matar, who is participating virtually (Gaza); IROT (Native American); VYAL (Chicano-Native American); Deadeyes (African American); Erin Yoshi (Japanese American); Susan Greene (Jewish American) Emory Douglas (African American); Nidal El Khairy (Palestinian); Chris Gazaleh (Palestinian American); SPIE (Asian American); Fred Alvarado (Latino American); Miguel Bounce Perez (Chicano-Pacific Islander American).

Each artist was given a broad design parameter to use within the tree motif, which is a common metaphor for life and a symbol of global commonality. From this simple directive, the artists have created imagery true to each one’s individual aesthetic. The result is a public tribute to the human spirit and its unassailable right to thrive in spite of political oppression and injustice--wherever it is taking place in the world.

The seeds for the idea behind The Oakland Palestine Solidarity Mural were planted in July 2011 when Art Forces and the Estria Foundation’s #WaterWrites worked together with the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) on the MAIA Mural Brigade in Palestine. A group of American youths, artists, trauma therapists and activists traveled to the Gaza strip and the West Bank to paint murals about compromised water quality at different schools, and youth centers to raise awareness for the basic human right to clean water.

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