Community Murals: Commemoration and Creativity

A press conference inaugurating murals in commemoration for the 30th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacres and the 64th anniversary of the Right of Return was held on Thursday, September 6, 2012 at Shatila Palestinian Refugee camp in Beirut.

The murals, whose surface reached approximately 185 m2, honored the victims of the Sabra and Shatila massacres and explored the themes of resilience and creativity. The murals also included a memorial to Rachel Corrie, the American martyr whose case was recently dismissed by Israel.

The murals were created as part of a workshop organized by ARCPA/AL-JANA led by Artist Susan Greene with the participation of young artists from the United States, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon.

The workshop stressed on the importance of involving local communities in the creation of the murals. As stated by Greene, murals by themselves are not art, but the whole process is. As part of the workshop methology, participants took their time to listen and learn about the lives of the local community in Shatila from the residents themselves. The young artists were inspired by these recounted stories in the creation of the murals.

Collaboration with Ahlam Laje’a, a local NGO inside the Shatila camp which targets children and youth from Shatila, allowed interaction with children and youth. This gave a unique opportunity for children and youth to participate in the mural design and the painting process. Moreover, various side activities targeting children were held such as art activities and lectures inviting the whole community to learn about the project and its aim, thus increasing the trust between the artists and the community.

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