Wahat al-Salam - Neve Shalom
On April 5, the "Artists Hosting Artists" of the WAS-NS Peace Museum got underway with its first of a series of workshops.
Some 18 Palestinian and Jewish artists (all from Israel) were hosted by artist Ahmad Canaan and his wonderful wife Malaka, in the Canaan Art Gallery, which is located in the city of Tamra in Western Galilee.
The program began with acquaintance with Ahmad’s unique artistic style, a tour of the Gallery where he exhibits some of his work, and the screening of a film. Afterwards the artists split up into Palestinian - Jewish couples and small groups, or worked individually. Thanks to the atmosphere of mutual support the participants liked the idea that others would step in and add something to their project. Working together in this way provides a unique opportunity for an encounter on many levels, not the least of which is simply to chat and share ideas or knowledge.
The artists loved this encounter. Dyana Shaloufi - Rizek, who is coordinating the project received positive feedback from all the participants. According to the program, future workshops in the series will be open also to the same artists if they wish to participate again. All the artists will be invited to a final exhibition of their created works that will happen in October.
Ayelet Braun Zur:
A fascinating morning ended with a joint photograph, a day with a handful of experiences, new acquaintances, a wonderful atmosphere, joint work, a morning of inspiration. At Ahmad Canaan’s studio in Tamra, we met Arab and Jewish artists for an encounter and creation of art together. Thanking my dear friend and colleague Dyana for the blessed initiative. Already waiting for the next meeting :)
The hosting artist, Ahmad Canaan, has a long relationship with Wahat al-Salam - Neve Shalom. He has attended many programs going back all the way to the 1980s and has contributed art work to the village. He also wishes to contribute a new piece to the village, for the Garden of Rescuers, if funds can be found to suitably mount the large wooden sculpture.
Our feelings as we painted were warm and gentle. One brush connected us, and we found a way to express ourselves in vibrant colours. In this first meeting at the studio of Ahmad Canaan we met Jewish and Arab artists from all over the country. It was truly a special day. Thanks to this wonderful lady [Dyana Shaloufi Rizek] for making a formidable effort to bring us together, with love, respect... and freedom.
Among the artists attending was Nihad Dabit, an artist from the city of Ramle. Nihad will be hosting the next workshop in the series, which is scheduled for May 18.
Besides the 18 participants, the workshop was visited also by three journalists and a number of Ahmad Canaan’s students.
The "Artists Hosting Artists" program is made possible through the generous financial support of a longtime American friend of WAS-NS, who believes in the necessity of improving communication between the two peoples living in this land.
Like her, we believe that art is an important language of communication that creates dialogue on a deep level. The artists in the workshop demonstrated their ability not only to encounter one another as equals, but to put aside their artistic ego and work well together on joint projects. Indeed they created some beautiful work, and we hope that for some of them this will prove to be the beginning of a more long-term artistic encounter.