For those of you that want to protest but are not into demonstrations or want to do more than donate here are a few media and art initiatives that are alternatives you may want to explore. Please note that I am only aggregating these and do not have more information than is posted. Please contact the persons indicated for more information.

 


Initiative 1: Compass To Palestine

Person: Inas Bseiso

Contacts:

email- inasbseiso@gmail.com

facebook: Inas H Bseiso

 

As a response to the continuous suffering of the Palestinian people, I am initiating a project titled Compass to Palestine.

 

Monument, art installation, expression, contribution- these are just some of the words that I can use to describe it.

 

Please read the brief excerpt below and forward to your contacts.

 

Waiting for your feedback,

 

Best,

Inas Bseiso

 

 

Compass To Palestine

 

We honor our dead

Our dead are not numbers, they had stories.

Put a face to every number

Tell a story for every number

All photos and stories will be mounted on a compass

The arrow of the compass leads to Palestine

This compass will be designed and sculpted by volunteering artists and designers

The compass will be built on a piece of land in Jordan

The compass will be a living commemoration of the heroic sacrifices of the people of GAZA on the path to Palestine

The compass will be a living commemoration of the hope of freedom for people under occupation

Preserve the dignified memory of our dead

Your help is needed

 

*******

Send pictures and stories to inasbseiso@gmail.com or Inas H Bseiso on Facebook

 

Initiative 2: Media Initiative for GAZA

Person: Huda Shashaa

Contact: huda_shashaa@jrf.org.jo

 

A group of 4 Jordanian women have come together in response to the appalling attacks of Israel against Gaza, to give voice to the victims of this war and speak of the atrocities so hesitantly covered by western media channels. To date, the world remains silent as both Western and Arab leaders complacently watch another Israeli attack against the starving and imprisoned population of 1.5 million Gazans. 

 

The objective of this weekly discussion will be to reflect on the week’s atrocities against Gazans and work to debunk many of the lies and rhetoric used to justify Israel’s aggression and subsequently deflect attention from the real issues at hand. 

 

Each discussion will be 10-15 minutes, once a week, and will be structured to reach the largest number of people in the western world. 

 

We have had enough and we will no longer be silenced.

 

What it takes:

 

  • 5 dedicated women willing to discuss the topic in an educated manner. These women must be well-read and capable of expressing themselves in English in a captivating and passionate way.
  • Researchers to compile numbers of casualties, news and relevant articles. 
  • Producer to develop the program for each episode (the flow) 
  • Guest speakers
  • Dedicated camera crew

 

 

Initiative 3: Video Messages

Person:

Contacts:

Dear Friends,

 

Due to the ongoing Israeli aggression on Palestinian in Gaza, a group of activists in Jordan have come up with an idea to produce video testimonials or messages of people’s opinions on what’s happening in Gaza.

 

Instead of writing our opinions, we want to give faces and names to our voices, and break the stereotype of Arabs by showing people of all ages and classes speak their mind eloquently and directly to the camera.


Our target audience is the Western public. This can be achieved through sending these video messages to the western and international political and media figures such as President-elect Barak Obama‘s, the British PM , the French President, the head of the EU, the chairperson of the CNN and BBC and uploading these messages on their websites. We’re also aiming to upload these testimonials on websites such as U-Tube, TV channels.

 

Our goal is to saturate this medium with enough messages to create an audio-visual database of our voices. 


Each testimonial should not exceed 1 minute, with the content being every person’s name and nationality (city), their opinions in regards to what’s going on in Gaza, to demand a solution, or their interference to stop the Israeli aggression and/or the Israeli occupation. 

 

Of course every person is entitled to his/her opinion, but I urge you to take a look at the articles below and get an idea of the language used in order for us to speak the language that the West understands, and therefore create more powerful messages.

 

Since the duration of the testimonials is short please pick one thought and express it well.

 

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article4933.shtml


http://www.mepeace.org/forum/topics/the-true-story-behind-this-war


http://www.ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/sheets.html


http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10055.shtml


http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10056.shtml


http://electronicintifada.net/bytopic/boycott-divestment-sanctions.shtml

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/02/israelandthepalestinians-barackobama


http://bit.ly/1zCC

 

If you are interested please get in touch with Salwa to facilitate your participation.

 

There are many more ways in which you can contribute. I will be more than happy to post these various initiatives if you send them my way. The killing must stop. People have to know we can not remain silent.

This week I was luck to go to not one or two but three exhibitions. Each one had a unique and distinct flavor and style. Each one has a different mission. Thinking back at what I saw this week I can say that I missed the art scene in Amman which has gone to sleep during the month of Ramadan. I am glad that the awakening of the scene came quickly and intensly. Here are my impressions of the exhibitions:

The first was at foresight gallery it was for a Jordanian artist, Nawal Abdullah. Her work was simple and elegant. Easy to look at, easy to enjoy. Simple in its layered approach to landscape and color. There were two pieces that were very striking for me at this exhibition, even though it was pretty much the same subject but in different colors and scales. The first caught my attention because it was a bigger scale and two dimensional but had very strong colors and was very different than the others in its effect. The second attracted me because it has so much depth, that you wanted to dive into the picture knowing it was endless. We didn’t spend much time at the gallery and it an easy exhibition to visit.

The second visit was to Jacaranda where there is an exhibition of Australian art. I have been there twice and still need to go again and again to fully absorb the beauty of the art and what has been displayed and what we were being exposed to. There are numerous artists presented at this exhibition and in total 40 pieces are on display. Talking to the gallery owner she explained to us how this art is a form of storytelling and to become such an artist you have to be initiated into the art form. At the gallery you can also find books discussing the art and a small booklet put together about the works and the artists. I really enjoyed this exhibition because it spoke to the aesthetic as well as the intellect by exposing us to a new culture and a new forms of expression. A great learning experience, I would like to go again and try to understand more about the symbolism and the meanings and thus the culture.

Finally today I was at Darat Al Funun to look at Mona Hatoum’s exhibition. The artist is Palestinian living in London and her work revolves around taking everyday objects and making statements with them. Some of these statements were very strong and powerful, others though beautiful were hard to relate to. I found it difficult to understand the use of hair as she did in her various installations. She tried to bring the ordinary into another dimension and her use of these everyday items though powerful, was unclear to what she wanted to say. I always struggle to understand artists who are from the region but live in another cultural paradigm, our relationships with the same things are so different. Hatoum’s works dated back to 1985 and in my opnion were one dimensional from the perspective of the subject matter she was presenting. The works were all related to Palestine, occupation, and war. The pieces were not reflective of her growth as an artist and to that end I would have loved to see more of her other work. Explanations of the pieces were poor, which mean there was no cohesion to the exhibition, perhaps if they were presented chronologically and built up to her latest works it would have been a less disjointed effort.

I think it’s irrelevant whether I like the art or not, what’s more important is that Amman has become a place where you can enjoy art from around the world. Indulge in a form of escapism through someone else’s perspective, and that brings the world to you when you cant go out and meet it head on.

 

Today as I was in Rainbow street I came across a group of young men dancing. They had spontaneously gathered with their music and started to dance. It was so much fun to watch the young men each taking turns to show his abilities at skill at the intricate footsteps.

 

This went on for about 20 minutes. The audience that included the dancers as well as bystanders in the street were all engaged, and entertained. As I was standing in the crowd I looked around me and thought this is just lovely. This is just full of positive energy. I wish there were more positive spontaneous expressions of self on the streets. Self expression is important to our identities, and our communities. And these acts of spontaneous street art make for wonderful surprises as we walk down our streets don’t you think?

 

 

This weekend I went up to Shatana, a village in Irbid. This is my second time up there and both times have been to see the results of the Triangle Workshop taking place there. These workshops bring artists together for two weeks and they culminate in an open day which showcases some of the results of the workshop.

 

This year’s event was spread out all over the village and we basically walked through the village for three hours with a map trying to find the locations of the art work. It was a fun experience that I thoroughly enjoyed.

 

I loved the fact that we got to explore all parts of the village. Seeing the old and the new, walking on paved roads and clambering over rocks, walking into abandoned old homes all added such flavor to the art treasure hunt we were on. I especially liked interacting with the local villagers who were so welcoming and friendly. We engaged a few in conversation and others we waved at and got invited into their homes in return. I loved it.

 

But thinking back at the art work that we saw there were only a few pieces that really caught my eye. I loved the work of a Moroccan artist who used 1 piaster coins to make a map of Jordan and then asked people to take a piece of Jordan home, and if you are from Jordan to take a piece of where you are from. I loved the concept so much. It was simple, inclusive and eloquent. Another piece I liked was an installation that used old doorways from the village that had not been used and then lined up for people to walk through them. I loved it. There was another installation that had sting crossing a room from place to place with little messages at the end. This one was about our life paths and how it is like a river, you had to walk through and jump over, bend down to get through the strings; it was fun, deep and spiritual at the same time. I also liked the little cats painted all over the village as talisman warding off evil. They were fun and cute, as a cat lover it get a two thumbs up from me. There were other projects spread all over the village that were interesting and thought provoking, on the other hand some were disappointing and to me were not strong participations and I could not relate to them or understand the concept behind them, or how they come to be called art. They may be fun ideas and interesting implementations of ideas, but to me were not art. But who am I to say what is and what is not art? Each of us has an experience with each piece and an interpretation that is different. That is the splendor of diversity and exposure to different cultures and worlds, we may not understand but we learn to appreciate the differences.

 

Shatana may not have been up to artistic expectations but it was definitely worth the drive. Seeing the openness of the village of Shatana with its peoples, its houses, its lands was beautiful. Even if the art work wasn’t as provoking it was still good to go out there and see it. And what better way to end the day then with a full moon rising and accompanying us back home.

 

Today I walked around the Raddison SAS wall in Amman and I saw an artist busy painting on a pristine white wall all sorts of colors and patterns. Another piece of street art is some graffiti and such in Jabal Amman. I loved what I saw and I loved that the art is going street. I may not like the pieces but the fact that we are introducing color and pattern to a beautifully beige color scheme is fun, and we need more fun in our lives…

 

I look forward to going back and taking pictures for all to see.