Art: From a Place of War

Art: From a Place of War

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Published:
August 9, 2006

By Sharon
Fujimoto-Johnson

We're being inundated with images of
destruction and death in the Middle East. And yet from a place of war, come also
images of life. Art is an act of creation--the
antithesis of destruction and death. A dab of paint, a filled canvas, a
paintbrush are no match for bombs and guns, but through art, we process, we
hope, and we heal.
Today, I highlight artwork from Lebanon,
Israel, and Palestine--all of which depict trees, a universal symbol of life and
growth:

"Wadi Habesor Acacia" by Ron Gang

Ron Gang is drawn to the resilient acacia
tree from which the biblical Ark of the Covenant was made. It is said that a vow
taken under the acacia tree may never be broken. "There are more levels of
reality than just politics," Toronto-born Israeli artist Ron Gang says. "If we
lose sight of the beauty around us, what is the value of living?"

   
"Landscape" by Sohail Sameir
Salem

A young Palestinian artist who lives in
Gaza, Sohail Sameir Salem is currently concentrating on themes, such
as children, the human being, and freedom.

"Trees" by Miriam Benhaim

Born in Romania, Miriam Ben Haim now lives
and works in Tel Aviv, Israel. She creates some of her artwork on paper made
from the desert near her home, a technique that reflects a deep connection to
the land.

Untitled Oil on Paper by Mohammed
Abusall

Born in a refugee camp, Mohammed Abusall
lives and works in Gaza. His work explores the Palestinian love of the land and
the realities of separation and exile.

"The Oak" by Joseph Matar
Joseph Matar seeks to capture the poetic
beauty and hope of Lebanon in face of oppression and violence. Matar has been
called a "great humanist." He calls himself "a messenger of love and of light,
being one of the many children of the sun."

In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech,
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Sooner or later all the people of the world will
have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this
pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. If this is to be
achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict, a method which rejects
revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is
love."
 
Artists who create in a spirit of love for
humanity move us in the right direction.

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