Why did you decide to create the Peace Art Gallery?
From the beginning it was very important for me to organise meetings between Palestinians and Jews from Israel. My method was getting people together to make and talk about art and when they are ready to talk about politics they will do so openly. I think if the main focus is arts so it will benefit them to express their feeling and ideas in a very short time and it usually happens
How did you begin? .
During the years, long before opening the gallery, I started to bring people to meet – each time a different small group of Palestinian and Jewish artists from Israel and Palestine. Later on, at the beginning of 2017, I started the project ‘Artists Hosting Artists’. I visit artists in their studios, in order to check the suitability to host 14 – 20 artists from both sides. The artist who is hosting us will lead while I bring the required materials with me – pencils, colours, canvases, different tools and good refreshments! We spend a few hours together and get to know each other while we make arts. These sessions take place in different villages or sites – some places that the artists will never visit without such an invitation. At the end of the session we share a contact list so we can stay in touch.
How does the work in the studios translate to the exhibitions you have here in the gallery?
Usually I invite artists from both sides that took part in one of the workshops to participate in an exhibition around a particular issue. Sometimes they will choose themselves or suggest others. I use my Facebook page, and some respond accordingly and I contact others.
What was the first exhibition for the Oasis Art Gallery.
50 years of Occupation – Occupation oppresses peoples and restricts Freedom.
The opening of the gallery was on the same day that 40 peace organisations including Wahat al Salam~Neve Shalom marked and protested the 50-year Occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem
What other issues have you covered?
Barriers to peace – looking at the personal, social and psychological levels we build between ourselves,groups, religions or peoples.
Refugees – every nation thinks we are the only refugees in history, but the truth is that there have always been refugees. Today, in the 21st century we should take responsibility for this and ask ourselves what and why and how to stop suffering.
Nonviolent Action – the opening of this exhibition was coordinated with the convening of the conference, “Beyond Dialogue: Nonviolence and Social Action” which took place in Wahat al Salam~Neve Shalom in October 2018.
Volence Against Women – looking at violence in all its forms, including the murder of women in all over the world.
I have also presented two solo exhibitions. I decided at one point that it was the right thing to do. The artists do not necessarily have to meet in order to open up their thoughts or accept complexities as part of life. But in all cases I look for stories from out of the artists’ works – not just a school or a style. That is important but the main issue is what is the story behind this specific work of art. In this way I open a discussion for the visitors and increase awareness of what they are going to think about or live with.
What are your future plans?
I have a wish list of things to purchase which will improve the physical aspects of the building. Looking more broadly at the future, I hope the Oasis Gallery helps to bring the two sides together, to empower our visitors to speak out and ultimately to create a better life for both Peoples.