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In today’s Washington Jewish Weekly newspaper
|| 2/28/2008 || 4:05 pm || Comments Off on In today’s Washington Jewish Weekly newspaper || ||

My piece at the JCC is mentioned in an article in today’s Washington Jewish Weekly:

The piece by D.C. resident Nikolas Schiller portrays the Palestinian refugees’ perspective and, he says, “dissent.” He is dissenting from the 1993 map of Israel and the Palestinian territories, upon which he based his kaleidoscope image, because he sees it as “biased” in showing the territories in stripes, he says.

He also has included an image of Handala, an iconic Palestinian cartoon that he found on the Internet, on the map. Handala, which means “bitterness” in Arabic, “represents the abused Palestinian refugees,” he says.

I don’t remember saying the word “abused” the entire time I spoke with the reporter, but I’ll let it slide.

Read the entire article:

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mapping it politically’L (A) ttidtudes’ exhibit features interpretivemaps of Israel, Palestinian territories

by Aaron Leibel, Arts Editor

It’s an exhibit that “screams political.”So says Wendy Fergusson, director of the Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery at the Washington DC Jewish Community Center and curator of L(A)ttitudes, explaining that the exhibit deals with artists’ interpretations of mappings of Israel and the Palestinian territories.

“Mapping is inherently political, especially in this region,” Fergusson says.

The exhibit’s 73 pieces by 10 artists from the U.S., Israel, France, Italy and Canada tries to capture “many authentic voices” in dealing with Israel. “Whenever we speak about an Israeli perspective, there isn’t one voice,” the curator says.

Fergusson says the exhibit tries to capture viewpoints as divergent as those of Palestinians living in Israel and of Palestinian refugees, as well as voices from the Israeli right.

Two local artists who have contributed to the exhibit illustrate those varying political perspectives in their work. Anna Fine Foer’s “Vayikra” was done for a relative whose bar mitzvah Torah portion of that name can be found in Leviticus. That parsha deals with sacrificing cattle as an offering to God.

“The cow is raised up on the state of Israel as if the country is the altar and in modern times, as we know, the land itself is what is being sacrificed” in terms of territorial compromise, she says.

This is not necessarily meant as a protest against territorial compromise, but depicts “reality in a symbolic way,” the Annapolis artist explains.

The piece by D.C. resident Nikolas Schiller portrays the Palestinian refugees’ perspective and, he says, “dissent.” He is dissenting from the 1993 map of Israel and the Palestinian territories, upon which he based his kaleidoscope image, because he sees it as “biased” in showing the territories in stripes, he says.

He also has included an image of Handala, an iconic Palestinian cartoon that he found on the Internet, on the map. Handala, which means “bitterness” in Arabic, “represents the abused Palestinian refugees,” he says.

Other highlights include 55 photographs by Alban Biaussat of people living on the Green Line; a 25-foot-high “Orange Map” by Avner Bar Hama; and Yoav Galai’s black-and-white photos of the wall/fence separating Israel from the West Bank.

The purpose of the exhibit is to get people to think about maps and ponder such questions as: If the map doesn’t agree with what they see on the ground, is the map right or wrong? Can we trust maps? Are there other ways of mapping?

The exhibit’s political nature, according to Fergusson, led the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington to rule that its Israel@60 logo, used to distinguish events celebrating Israel’s 60th anniversary, could not be used to promote L (A) ttitudes.

Explaining the federation’s decision, Stuart Brown, the Israel@60 chair, says in a statement that there are limits on the kinds of activities that can be promoted under its banner.

He continues: “For example, we have not allowed the Israel@60 logo to be used in connection with fundraising events. And, most fundamentally, the Israel@60 label cannot be used for events that feature a political perspective.”

Yet, the federation’s list of Israel@60 exhibits includes a wide variety of events, including one titled, “Lost Years: Bush, Sharon, and Failure in the Middle East,” a talk by Mark Matthews, based on his book and described as “how two risk-taking leaders worsened the Middle East situation by pursuing parallel preemptive wars that destabilized the region.”

A federation spokesperson described such events as “educational in nature.”

Fergusson, meanwhile, sees the L (A) ttitudes exhibit as “a reflection of Israel at 60,” but not necessarily a celebration of Israel’s 60th anniversary. For that reason, she has no problem with the federation’s decision.

The exhibit will be on display through June 2. In conjunction with the exhibit, there will be opportunities to engage in dialogues on Israel and the Middle East. For information, go to www.washingtondcjcc.org/center-for-arts/gallery or call 202-777-3208.


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Last edited by Nikolas Schiller on 2/2/2012 at 10:41 pm



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