This world has seen, is seeing many wars, conflicts erupting between countries or within a particular country. And artists have always found ways to share the stories with the whole world. Some create politically aware paintings, while others make films focusing on the issue. Since the beginning of humankind, art has been used to express and evoke emotions and ideas in a human; has been used to direct attention towards a political cause. Documenting age old conflicts and war scenarios in paintings has been popular since 18th-19th century. It sometimes awoke aggressive emotions while empathetic ones the other times, which led to see an end the war or fuel it more. Out of the many such conflicts, the Israel-Palestine conflict is known as the world’s most intractable one, which started in the mid-20th century with the immigration of the Jews. Since then, many historic and art enthusiasts have been concerned over the safety and the preservation of the rich culture and historic interests this region has to offer.
In the late 2000, Israeli government decided to build a barrier in the West Bank to stop the attacks and bombings from Palestinians. The works to put up the wall started in 2002 and its effect was seen throughout the next 3-4 years. The attacks ceased but another problem arose. The wall began to be seen as a political border between Israelis and Palestinians which was not appreciated by thousands. The barrier meant that the Palestinians lost their freedom. The wall cut off their access to work, their medical and educational services. They now had to cross military checkpoints if they wished to visit any of the basic places. This has prompted many international organizations to take actions to provide the Palestinians with basic human rights while also ensuring that the Israeli civilians stay safe from further terrorist attacks.
Among the many protests, this time too, artists have found their own way to show their support for the Palestinian’s freedom. Artists took the barrier as their canvas and used it to voice their protests through paintings and writings. Banksy, Blu, Swoon, Lushsux, Ron English among many other artists have their works up on the wall.
- A young Palestinian activist throws a bouquet of flowers
- Children playing with sand buckets while the wall is peeled off to show the paradise waiting for them beyond the wall
Younggirl trying to fly over the wall with a bunch of balloons
- A peace dove wearing a bulletproof vest
- Walled in Christmas tree surrounded by a lot of stumps depicting the many Palestinian groves forcefully taken to build the wall
Even though the whole expanse of the barrier had been painted with many works over the years, most of them have been removed either by authorities or by Palestinians themselves. Artists have recounted the experience they had with the civilians while they were working on their art. When they paint over the fences, the locals criticize them for making it look so beautiful because that is not the impression they want to imprint onto their children; rather they want their young generation to look at the walls and think about all the freedom and opportunity they lose every day because of it. They don’t want to make the wall into something which it’s not – positive. While this debate is still going around, it’s not stopping artists to fly over there to put up new paintings and ideas.