@Peace – Youth Leading through Art and Social Media
The project @Peace, initiated by TheArtian.com, and with the support and collaboration of the US Embassy, wishes to bring Jewish and Arab youths closer through art. The project started in May 2016, mediated by the Petach Tikva Museum of Art, will serve as a unique opportunity for an encounter between teens from these communities, who live side by side in the shadow of a constant conflict. Due to this conflict, teens from both communities do not actually physically meet in everyday life, but only through the problematic mediation of the media, and their vast majority has never experienced an interpersonal encounter at eye level with their peers from the other culture.
The premise of the project is based on two key observations: first, teenagers take part in the project at an age in which they are still forming and consolidating their identity, meaning, their political perceptions have yet to become entrenched. Therefore, they might be more open to discussions and a dialogue that will have a future contribution to bolstering pluralism and tolerance in Israeli society, in its diverse sectors. Second, in order to form a dialogue that is based on equality, a neutral place and language that does not distinctly “belong” to one of the sectors should be adopted. The two sites we located for this purpose are 1. The inherently universal language of art as a space for encouraging a dialogue; 2. Contemporary American culture, which has a far-reaching influence on both Arab and Jewish teenagers, and can therefore serve as an exterritorial meeting and reference point. In that sense, the fact that American culture is based on diversity can also contribute to the productive dialogue between teens.
@Peace is a format that provides its participants with diverse skills, aimed at building a leadership group based on intercultural dialogue. The purpose of the art activity is to translate this important discourse outwards, using viral media. The participants will take part in workshops in which they will acquire intellectual tools from the finest local and American creative minds, as well as various techniques for creating art and using digital media. Throughout the project, the participants will create artworks that build on the techniques they have learned and are inspired by local and American artists. The works will be displayed in an exhibition at the Petach Tikva Museum of Art and in an additional viral exhibition platform on social media, which will facilitate continued communication after the official conclusion of the project.
Creative Activities to Boost Collaboration
The project will include six 4-6 hour sessions, which will take place at the Petach Tikva Museum of Art and at System Ali House. Each session will include joint learning (of a subject or a technique), creative activity, and discussion. The process will start with personal acquaintance and visits of the groups to the respective schools and will move from there to artistic themes. The acquaintance and training stage will be followed by a process of working on individual projects in small heterogeneous groups.
The project will be led by the video artist Shahar Marcus, known for his video art as well as for his work in the community and collaboration with the Turkish artist Nezaket Ekici, and by Enas Masri, a filmmaker, and Jewish-Arab dialogue group facilitator. Enas and Shahar will accompany the dialogue-based artistic process of the teens participating in the project, from the acquaintance stage, through the discussions and the joint creative process.
Throughout the process, the group will meet with American artists and local experts in the fields of directing, video art, characters design, and more. The participants will learn stop-motion animation techniques, which can serve as a platform for presenting alternative reality and dreams and use it for creating video clips.
In addition, the participants will work with System Ali, a multilingual Hip Hop ensemble, who will train the teens in writing, composing, and working with texts. At the end of the workshop, the group will record with the teens the songs they have created in the process.
UPDATE: The project ended in September 2016 and was a successful collaboration. You can see the final video the students created below.