Every city of the world has its own graffiti (except maybe Singapore?) and I’m a big fan of this form of art. Sometimes though, the beauty of graffiti and street art in general is not in what is depicted itself, but rather in the meaning it represents.
In the West Bank, the controversial so called “Separation Wall” (also called “Security Wall” but I don’t like this one) is the perfect and logical surface for activists, pacifists and artists from all over the world to draw a beautiful and meaningful mural, or even just to leave a message.
Wherever there’s politics, there are writings on walls, and this is a fact. International graffiti artists such as the worldwide famous Banksy come to the Palestinian territories (the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) to leave their message through their paintings, and this is really the case when a picture tells more than a thousand words.
Pictures have the power to convey a whole feeling, a whole story, in a universal language that doesn’t need any translation or explanation.
On my “Best of the West Bank” tour with Abraham Tours I had the chance of seeing and photographing many interesting and poignant examples of political graffiti that I am now going to show you, hoping you will take a minute to think over them and hopefully feel something out of them.
Well I guess I ‘spoke’ too much. Here you are.
Jerusalem beyond the wall, depicted as if the wall was fallen down, on the Separation Wall in Bethlehem.
“Made in the USA”.
“This wall may take care of the present, but it has no future”
The wall goes on and on and on… can you see the end?
“I was just following orders” – IDF (Israel Defense Forces) & Nazi
“Don’t forget the struggle” – a graffiti in honor of Leila Khaled, a member of the PFLP (Popular Front of Liberation of Palestine) who is now a member of the Palestinian National Council. She has been convicted for hijacking several flights in the 60’s and 70’s, when she was very young. She is a national symbol of the struggle for the liberation of Palestine.
The girl with balloons is said to be by Banksy but it’s not for sure. Either way it’s incredible how such a simple drawing can express a specific feeling: the dream of crossing that wall… or even better, that the wall wouldn’t even exist!
One of the most famous and biggest graffiti on the Separation Wall of Bethlehem, representing the revolution with an interesting and clear reference to Delacroix’s painting “Liberty leading the people”.
Another great one by Banksy. The peace dove welcomes visitors to Bethlehem… with a bulletproof vest. Because peace is constantly threatened.
This my be one of the most iconic drawings by Banksy: the “girl frisking a soldier” is an ironic graffiti on a wall in the middle of Bethlehem.
In this simple mural, Banksy depicted a heart with peace doves, with a bullet on the way to hit it. I am not sure I understood the exact meaning of this one (please help leaving a comment below if you can interpret it!) but I have the feeling it’s pretty powerful.
On one of the main streets of Ramallah, the capital of Palestine, I spotted this drawing and found it simply heartbreaking. Santa is hugging a sad child who’s holding the Palestinian and Iraqi flags: he represents those children who grew up in war conditions and don’t know the serenity that every child on Earth has to right to experience.
The man in this drawing is named Khader Adnan and he was imprisoned by the Israeli military without any reason. In jail he suffered from physical and psychological abuse, and was on hunger strike for about 60 days (!!!) as a sign of protest against injustices. This case attracted the attention of international medias and Adnan was finally released.
Going through these drawings once again was a real emotional journey.
I hope it was the same for you.
What else can I say… Peace! Salam! Shalom!