The Freedom Theatre in Jenin — Inspiring Palestinian Aspirations for Freedom

Eager audiences waiting for a performance at The Freedom Theatre

Using performance art as a form of resistance is not new, and we need only a cursory look at theater and film to remind us how filmmakers and playwrights have used performance to call out unfair treatment of people by power and authority. Euripides’s The Trojan Women; Shakespeare’s Richard III; Arthur Miller’s The Crucible; and more recently, Francis Ford Coppola‘s Apocalypse Now; Steven Spielberg‘s Amistad; Ava DuVernaySelma; and James Cameron’s Avatar all touch on powerful political and social issues that inspire audience response above and beyond mere entertainment. Even George Lucas’s Star Wars is often viewed as a post-colonialist critique warning against a dystopian fascist future.

Therefore it makes sense that Palestinians participating in The Freedom Theatre in the West Bank use theater and performance as a tactic of resistance, learning, and cultural expression. read more

Visiting the Others: Aylam Rosenthal Ventures Into the West Bank Taking Photos and Gathering Stories.

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Just out of high school and not quite in college, Aylam Rosenthal is couch-surfing in Israel or perhaps working on a kibbutz right now. Although American, he spends time in Israel with his dad or grandparents, and he carries with him a family gift: his digital camera. His style of photography is highly colorful and light, and his images of peers convey romantic transformations from adolescence to adulthood equal to what you’ll see in GAP lifestyle advertising or Real Simple editorial. This could be a narrative of a young man traveling abroad leaving a trail of Instagram and Facebook photo journal images chronicling discovery of culture and heritage. However, he has ventured past Israeli security crossings into Palestinian territory, zone B, where he’s gained the trust of villagers, photographed them, and retold their stories. read more

Nour Festival in London Features Middle East Visual and Performing Art 20 October Through 6 November

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The Arab Puppet Theatre Foundation

Those lucky enough to be in London right now will enjoy a spectacular treasure trove of culture from the Middle East. Each year the city hosts the Nour Festival featuring visual art, literature, music, and performance — this year, from fifteen countries. Appropriately, the themes of this year’s festival focus on topics of displacement and conflicted identity as millions of people are driven from homelands by war forcing them into exile and causing them to face challenges that migration brings. read more

Tamara Abdul Hadi Stages Self-Portraits in Palestine

Dubai photographer, Tamara Abdul Hadi, lets Palestinians capture their own images. She sets up a camera with an extended shutter cable and lets the subjects photograph themselves. In this fashion, the photo subjects display greater apprehension to take a more formal photo versus that of the common smartphone selfie. read more

The Infographic — Or, How We Use Creative Media to Explain the Messes We Help Make

This Land Is Mine from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

Conflicts throughout the world have become ever increasingly complex in their beginnings and ongoing outcomes. Trying to understand why the Arab Spring began and how it spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East or who the myriad of participants in the now five-year-old plus Syrian Civil War takes a significant amount of focus and tenacity to absorb details from media sources or history books. Enter the infographic, a relatively new form of media that attempts to squeeze the complexity of modern-day social, economic, and political issues into a few minutes of clarity. read more