The 7th Annual Speaking
Arts Conference brought Jewish and Muslim artists together, and gave them the
freedom to create and to dream.
Thanks to the continuing support of
the Dear Foundation of Switzerland, the conference was held in November, and
for the first time, included workshops and events at the Paley
in east Jerusalem,
The Lab, and the studios of the Vertigo Dance Troupe.
Click here to view a video of one of the workshops.
Seventy two performing artists in
the fields of music, dance and theater participated. They came from all over– north, center, east
and west Jerusalem, and even Nablus. "This is the first time I've heard Hebrew
in a conversation, rather than from a soldier at a military checkpoint,"
said one participant from Nablus.
Participants enjoyed 2 days of
workshops led by acclaimed actress Salwa Nakara, internationally-renowned
musician and teacher Sameer Makhoul, and dancer/choreographers Ilanit Tadmor
and Rabaa Mourkous. Many were so enthusiastic about their experience they
expressed a desire to continue to work together throughout the year.
The theme of the conference, Quiet,
refers to a state of mind that "can help us to look inward, [giving us] the
freedom to create, to dream, as artists without borders," said Hanan
Ohana, conference coordinator.
Movement artist Noam Carmeli led a workshop
on improvisation through movement. Shmulik
Hadjes, of the Psik Theater in Jerusalem,
led a special session on masks and characterization. Raida Sa'adeh, Director of the Paley Arts Center in east Jerusalem
explained the arts situation in east Jerusalem.
Dancer and choreographer Arkadi
Zeides and Eyal Danon, curator at the Israeli Center
for Digital Art, showed how art effectuates change. Zeides discussed the show Quiet, where
2 Jews and 2 Arabs use movement and touch to express aspects of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Danon
discussed his project Liminal Spaces, which uses art to advance issues
where politics failed. Prominent
musicians Mira Awad and Shlomi Shaban closed the conference, performing in
Hebrew, Arabic and English to a full house, their first time sharing a stage.
"When we look for the humanity
in Jews and Arabs, we discover treasures and richness that bring more happiness
than agreements signed behind closed doors," said Nadim Sheiban, the
Jerusalem Foundation's Director of the Projects.