Wednesday, April 2, 2008


One of the unintended consequences created by the wall built by Israel to separate Israelis from Palestinians is the canvas it has provided for resistance art by Palestinian as well as international artists.

Unlike the anodyne paintings on the Israeli side of the wall, intended to decorate and beautify rather than to politicize, art on the Palestinian side often dominates the wall with aggressive displays of enormous, bold, vibrant, powerful paintings, often scaled to the 25’ high concrete structure, although others trail off into less dramatic, skillful graffiti.

This is resistance art, art that expresses the anger, militancy and hatred of occupation as well as a yearning for freedom and fantasies of liberation.

Using their imagination to conquer the wall and to fantasize getting to the other side, artists have painted such things as stepladders, stairs, balloons and footsteps. Sections of the wall have been painted to show the wall being breached, to pretend one can see beyond the concrete via windows, curtains, jagged holes to views of the ocean, mountains and fields. I have collected images of paintings, posters and children’s drawings that are not on the wall but also of and about the wall in which the wall is often depicted as a monster or serpent, surrounding and strangling the Palestinian town or village.

I am writing a book about the art and what it signifies about the mind, spirit and psyche of the Palestinians trapped behind the wall. I have also been invited by WLIU, a Long Island-based public radio station, to record a commentary for the daily show about the arts hosted by Bonnie Grice. It can be heard streaming live on or on 88.3 fm in the eastern Long Island listening area on Wednesday, April 9 at 8.55 am.

The work is also available as a slide presentation "Facing the Wall" which I will be pleased to present to small groups in the New York area. Please contact me if you are interested.