Art always tries to challenge the status quo, and it can be said that all art is political, in the sense that it takes place in a public place, and deals with an already existing ideology and a dominant discourse. Yet art can often become as dangerously and overtly political as a lethal weapon. Throughout the history of social movements and revolutions, art has reacted against oppression, violence, injustice and inequality.
Art challenges traditional boundaries and hierarchies imposed by authorities of all kinds, and opens spaces for the marginalized, to contribute to social change, through knowledge and awareness-raising. In this way, the artist’s personal life and artwork transcend his individuality, combining the political and human functions of art. Read also Among them is an Oscar winner, stars and celebrities around the world show solidarity with the Palestinians What did the people of Sheikh Jarrah Hollywood? Celebrities are not afraid of solidarity with the Palestinians The last of them is Jack Fallahy .. Hollywood celebrities continue to show solidarity with Palestine Hollywood celebrities .. Some of them have backed away from supporting Palestine, and these have not given up their position
arts throughout history
It is difficult to pinpoint the beginning of the protest arts historically. But conceptual art and protest arts in general, have been greatly influenced by Dada, an anti-war art movement that used irony and irrational anti-idealism rhetoric to criticize World War I and its capitalist agenda.
Some of the early examples of protest art include the Mexican muralist David Alvaro Siqueiros, who was very active in left-wing politics at the beginning of the 20th century and wanted to reach the people through art. In addition, Picasso’s Guernica painting that was painted due to the horrors of the Spanish Civil War can be considered an inspiration for the modern human rights movement.
As for contemporary protest artists, one cannot ignore the Russian artist and activist Peter Pavlensky, who has taken the art of protest to the extreme. Pavlensky is best known as the living pain artist, as he chose performance art that often takes extreme forms as the language of political protest.
Some of Pavlensky’s stunts include sewing his mouth in a political protest against some of the arrests by the Russian government. He also wrapped himself naked in barbed wire to protest the suppression of civil activity and intimidation of the population, and in an even more extreme act, he cut off his earlobes in protest against Russia’s use of forced psychiatry against opponents.
Protest Arts in Palestine
Graffiti and wall art are one of the elements of the political and social fabric of Palestinian society. Street artists in Palestine do not consider fines or the legal ramifications for painting walls, but are encouraged by local authorities and civil society organizations.
Graffiti appeared as a form of resistance in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the youth of the resistance, and members of the various Palestinian factions, during the first intifada, began using walls as message boards to communicate with people, especially with the long hours of curfew imposed by the occupation during the uprisings. Masked youths were spraying on the walls and alleys the names of the martyrs and their affiliations, and calling for protest and defiance.
What emerged as a form of resistance and a platform for partisan propaganda and political discourse, has grown into an art form. Civil society organizations, as well as international organizations, have participated in overseeing hundreds of murals that defend human rights, such as advocating environmental justice and the right to clean water for the people of Gaza.
Palestinian factions are also still attracting graffiti artists to produce multi-purpose murals that express their orientation. With the withdrawal of the Israeli occupation forces from Gaza in 2005, it became easier for Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip to draw graffiti more freely.
Apartheid Wall Arts
After the construction of the Apartheid Wall in the West Bank in 2006, the wall turned into a protest painting when famous English street artist Banksy painted his first mural.
Within weeks the wall became in the spotlight, and turned into the largest protest mural in the world, even reflecting the struggles, desires and fears of Palestinians living under occupation and within the borders of the separation wall.
The wall paintings and posters detail the personal and humanitarian stories of Palestinians affected by the occupation. In addition, many of the paintings on the wall tell the stories of the Palestinian struggle against the occupation, and document the stories of prominent Palestinian figures who fought for freedom. Revolutionary words such as “No more silence” or “We want to break the international wall of silence” were written on the wall. Among the wall paintings are small paintings of rockets piercing the Jewish Star of David.
In general, the location of the wall was used as a space for protest. Usually, there is a protest every Friday in some areas of the West Bank, where tires are burned and stones are thrown, so the occupation authorities respond by throwing tear gas or rubber bullets, in addition to arresting some people. The site is littered with remnants of tires and canisters fired from the watchtowers, and the walls become burnt black in separate places on the wall.
The Palestinian Authority put up posters of a middle-aged woman who died during a tear gas attack. “This woman died of a heart disease exacerbated by Israeli tear gas,” the poster wrote. Another painting showed a mother wearing a headscarf and carrying her dead child. “Stop killing my sons, my brothers and my fathers,” wrote next to the painting.
International solidarity with Palestine
Artists and tourists from all over the world come to the checkpoint to express their solidarity with Palestine. The writings reflect the solidarity or sympathy of the various peoples of the world, even if the governments do not support the rights of the Palestinians, the peoples remain in solidarity and are aware of the importance of the Palestinian people’s struggle against the occupation, and this is evident from the sentences and words written on the wall.
Pictures of the keys and the slogans of the Right of Return are also among the most common graffiti works in Palestine, and these pictures are often accompanied by drawings of the character Handzala, created by Palestinian cartoonist Naji Al-Ali. Handala is not linked to any political faction, but he represents Palestine in its human sense, a symbol of the just cause.