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Evolution of Palestinian Graffiti

October 13, 2010

Graffiti on a security wall, Bethlehem, Israel

Palestinian graffiti has an undeniable political motivation; Faris Arouri, 28, a member of the Palestinian Peace & Youth Forum (PPYF) reported that resistance groups often utilize graffiti as political canvas and communication tool, in order to undermine the efforts of Israeli authorities to control their activities. The art of graffiti mirrors the development of the Palestinian resistance movement and the establishment of the PLO in the 1960s and 1970s. It has developed as a political tool rather than as an aesthetic art form; Majd Abdel Hamid, 22, a Palestinian artist and graduate of the International Art Academy of Palestine and the Malmo Art Academy in Sweden, argues that graffiti developed as part of a collective, anonymous political movement, unlike graffiti in Western cultures, where graffiti developed as an individual creative act in response to urbanization.

Majd believes that Palestinian graffiti can evolve to take on a new role, by tackling more diverse social and cultural issues: “Coming closer to a Palestinian state, there are many social aspects that art has to criticize, question and talk about. We have to tackle social aspects. For any type of development you have to criticize your own society. Whether you are occupied or not occupied, artwork is not merely and strictly political; to just repeat the Palestinian rhetoric is damaging.”

Palestinian graffiti could develop into a sophisticated art form that helps Palestinians define themselves, and establish a new identity.

Content adapted from Haaretz.com: http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/where-would-palestinian-art-be-without-politics-1.312153

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