India’s only daily art newspaper

Artists Raise Humanitarian Concerns for Gaza Amidst War between Israel and Hamas

Gaza, the largest prison in the world, is being transformed into an abattoir. The word Strip (from Gaza Strip) is being drenched with blood, as happened sixty-five years ago to the word ghetto.

John Berger (2009) 

We are living in a time of war, where Israeli troops are waging a military campaign against the Palestinian people. Unrest persists despite thousands of innocent people—including children—dying needlessly. As a worldwide community, we are speaking out against the war, and the arts community is one unexpected area that has joined the chorus of voices. 

A second open letter in support of Palestinians was signed by over 150 artists, curators, musicians, writers, publishers, and even some of today’s biggest contemporary artists, including Nan Goldin, Tomás Saraceno, Mark Leckey, Peter Doig, Laure Prouvost, Anthea Hamilton, Issy Wood, Kara Walker, and Jeremy Deller, and renowned artists and celebrities, including Karim Abdel Aziz, Latifa, Nabil Al-Halafawi, Ragheb Alama, Sulaf Fawakherji, and more, have used their platforms to express support for those suffering in the occupied territories of Palestine and Jerusalem.  

Tilda Swinton / StyleCaster

In a deleted tweet, artist Ai Weiwei’s support became controversial, and Lisson Gallery, a renowned contemporary art space in London, has decided to suspend its plans to exhibit the work of the acclaimed artist. 

The artist community denounced the current situation in an open letter and demanded an immediate ceasefire, the entry of humanitarian supplies into Gaza, an end to the killing and injury of civilians, and an end to our governing bodies’ role in serious human rights abuses and war crimes. Against the institutional silence and politically indifferent stance during this critical period of crises and rapidly intensifying genocide, the artist community spoke out. 

The passionate messages that artists have sent to the Palestinian people are replete with the unconditional love of humanity and, this time, an urgent plea for Jerusalem’s divine rescue and liberation. More than two thousand people from the arts, including well-known actors Tilda Swinton, Charles Dance, Steve Coogan, Miriam Margolyes, Peter Mullan, Maxine Peake, and Khalid Abdalla, have signed a letter stating that their governments “are not only tolerating war crimes but aiding and abetting them.”

How Israel- Palestine War Change Art

The geopolitical and cultural confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians has existed for a very long time. It has had a significant effect on art, inspiring creators to interact with and address the intricacies, conflicts, and personal experiences surrounding the war. 

Writer John Berger//RAPHAELLUCAS_130002/Credit: RAPHAEL LUCAS/SIPA/1701031256 (Newscom TagID: sfphotostwo572022.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]
We are all familiar with John Berger, the critic and storyteller who helped to mould the worldview of an artistic generation, spearheaded demands for a cultural boycott of Israel, and composed an article on his 2009 visit to the tomb of the renowned Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish in Ramallah.  

Day and night bombs, shells, GBU39 radioactive arms, and machine gun rounds are being fired by the Israeli Defense Forces from air, sea, and land against a civilian population of one-and-a-half million. The estimated number of mutilated and dead increases with each news report from international journalists, all of whom are forbidden by Israel to enter the Strip. Yet the crucial figure is that for a single Israeli casualty, there are one hundred Palestinian casualties. One Israeli life is worth a hundred Palestinian lives. The implications of this assumption are constantly reiterated by Israeli spokesmen in order to make them acceptable and normal. The massacre will soon be followed by pestilence; most lodgings have neither water nor electricity, and the hospitals lack doctors, medicines, and generators. The massacre follows a blockage and siege.- Berger wrote in his essay.  

John Berger did not write this essay on the ongoing Palastine-Isreal war. An essay written thirteen years ago tragically depicts the current reality of Palestine. After the visit, John Berger translated Mahmoud Darwish’s poems and published them as a book. 

As we know, a large number of artists from throughout the world and the area have shown their support for Palestine in a variety of ways, such as through their artwork, speeches in public, and involvement in activism. It’s crucial to remember that people can have a wide range of complex opinions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian issue. 

The British graffiti artist Banksy is still mostly unknown, but his artwork frequently addresses social and political themes, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some of his artwork, like the ones on the barrier in the West Bank, expresses support for the Palestinian people.

Banksy’s The Armoured Dove in Palestine. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Pieces by Banksy have been spotted in Palestine since the early 2000s. This 2003 painting in Jerusalem, Love Is In The Air, also known as Flower Thrower, was among Banksy’s first works of graffiti here. The stencilled artwork, which was painted soon after the West Bank Wall was built, depicts a young man leaning back and extending his arm in an aggressive gesture to throw something; instead of a bomb or grenade, the object is a bouquet, which stands for beauty and peace.

Roger Waters, a co-founder of Pink Floyd and former bassist, is an outspoken advocate for Palestinian rights. He has encouraged other artists to boycott Israel until it conforms with international law about its treatment of Palestinians and has participated in several campaigns calling for justice in the region. 

It’s critical to understand that different artists have different perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that not all artists publicly advocate for political causes. Furthermore, the terrain of viewpoints and articulations could change. As with any complicated geopolitical issue, it’s critical to approach the subject knowing the various facets and perspectives that are involved.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *