Wednesday, August 15, 2007

An aesthetic of peace

"At first, the road sign at a busy intersection in this town looks like any other: A raised silhouette of a hand on a red background in a circular white border.

"But the index and middle fingers of the hand are missing, and the warning written in Arabic in the border has only a tangential connection to traffic control: Awkefu al-ketel "Stop the killing."

"It's a powerful message directed at both sides in the civil war between Hamas and Fatah, which has claimed dozens of lives in the Gaza Strip and could spread to the West Bank.

"The artwork, displayed at 50 major junctions across Ramallah and its neighboring town El Bireh, is the creation of Majd Abdel Hamid, a 19-year-old local artist and one of 12 students selected for the opening semester of the newly inaugurated International Academy of Art Palestine.

""It's missing the two victory fingers which usually indicate the Palestinian revolution and victory. It was a sign that Arafat often used," explains Hamid. "It says that no one is going to win. It's a lose-lose situation. The situation with killing is like losing parts of your body, it's something really bloody."

"Hamid's road sign is the first art project to be sponsored by the Academy and a perfect example of what its founders, a group of local Palestinian artists, hope to achieve."

1 comment:

Mel Alexenberg said...

See my blog "Aesthetic Peace" at

Mel Alexenberg, former art professor at Columbia University and research fellow at MIT.