Deck London’s Walls III

Below are some final shots from William Parry, UK-based photojournalist who, with the help of projection artist Beverley Carpenter, has spent the last several days projecting images of Israel’s apartheid wall onto buildings and monuments in London. The projected images were taken by Parry in Bethlehem, where children from the Aida refugee camp stenciled a Christmas message to the world onto their section of the wall. The goal of the project: to raise awareness of the Israeli-induced suffering that continues in Bethlehem, exploiting the city’s relevance to the current holiday, and in Palestine as a whole. (For more background and the first two sets of Parry’s photographs from Bethlehem and London, click here and here.)

Writes Parry in an email to PULSE:

It was a magnificent project to have been part of. Working with the kids from Aida camp on cutting out the stencils and then watching them put their message up on the wall was huge fun and it was great to see them enjoying themselves. But then coming to London and actually seeing the photos of these kids and their simple message on London’s walls — and some of the city’s prime wall spaces — was absolutely brilliant, really moving. Then to have the public’s interaction here with that message and with the images from Bethlehem, that just added to the fulfillment. Bev did a great job as our ‘guerrilla’ projection artist.

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Deck London’s Walls II

Yesterday we wrote about photojournalist William Parry’s Christmastime project in London: projecting images of Israel’s apartheid wall in Bethlehem onto monuments and buildings in the British capital.

The goal, says Parry, is to “provide a stark political backdrop to the frantic Christmas shopping rush, to remind Britain and the West that Israel’s illegal occupation and separation wall are strangling Bethlehem – and Palestine – the birthplace of Christ and Christmas.”

The images used in the projections are primarily of Palestinian children from the Aida refugee camp who have decorated a portion of the wall with a Christmas message to the world. Click here for yesterday’s overview of the project and to see the original images taken by Parry in Bethlehem.

Over the fold are pictures from last night’s projections at Marble Arch, the National Portrait Gallery, and Parliament, where Parry reports his group was nearly arrested.

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Deck London’s Walls with Bethlehem’s Calls

Image of Israeli separation wall in Bethlehem projected onto London monument

Two dozen children, aged 5-17, from the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem, cut out stencils of letters, stars and Christmas trees and sprayed painted ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS WORLD FROM BETHLEHEM GHETTO’ on Israel’s illegal separation wall. Photographed by UK-based photojournalist William Parry, images of the children and their message – along with powerful images of checkpoints and life under occupation – will temporarily ‘hijack’ prominent wall spaces in central London throughout the week leading up to Christmas, with the help of projection artist, Beverley Carpenter. (photographs of Bethlehem and of the projection project in London can be found over the fold!)

Says Parry:

The idea is to provide a stark political backdrop to the frantic Christmas shopping rush, to remind Britain and the West that Israel’s illegal occupation and separation wall are strangling Bethlehem – and Palestine – the birthplace of Christ and Christmas. We’re bringing the reality of Bethlehem to London this Christmas.

The children who painted the message on the wall are third and fourth generation refugees, at risk of being made refugees again because of the wall’s devastating impact. We are complicit in suspending their rights to justice and freedom through our governments’ biased support of Israel.”

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The Saga of Abdul Halim

We recently posted the introduction to photojournalist William Parry’s new book Against the Wall: The Art of Resistance in Palestine, as well as a selection of images. Below please find one final excerpt from the book, detailing the struggle of a Palestinian man named Abdul Halim whose home in Nazlit Issa in the northwestern West Bank was commandeered as a base for the Israeli army while his territorial holdings were truncated by the West Bank Wall. Following the excerpt are 9 images of Abdul Halim, his home and village, and the Wall.

All photographs by William Parry.

(Click here to view an interview with Parry on Rattansi & Ridley.)

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If you were Abdul Halim, with a wife and children dependent on you, what would you do? You’re building a large, new home for the family – your sons are nearing that age when they will marry and they will share the house and start their own families. As the house nears completion, Israeli soldiers recognise its strategic position and decide they’ll position themselves on the rooftop – and there they set up base. The commander, his soldiers and their guns say: ‘We’re going to use your rooftop whether you like it or not.’ They station themselves there for 18 months and completion of the house is postponed as it’s now effectively a military structure, replete with bullet-proof glass. Things then get even worse: the house abuts the Green Line and you receive notice that the building you have nearly completed is going to be demolished to make way for the Wall. However, the Israeli military intervenes, telling the Israeli Civil Administration folk: ‘Don’t demolish it, we’re using it.’ Civil Administration agrees to freeze the demolition order – and it remains frozen to this day.

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Is the spray can mightier than the sword?

This is the question posed by photojournalist William Parry at the start of his new book Against the Wall: The Art of Resistance in Palestine (Pluto Press, May 2010), in which he documents graffiti artwork on the West Bank Wall and the stories of Palestinians whose lives are affected by said monstrosity.

Below is the introduction to the book, which has been endorsed by political cartoonist Joe Sacco, among others.

Check back early next week for a selection of images from Against the Wall.

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In December 2007, the celebrated and famously elusive British street artist, Banksy, and a London-based organisation called Pictures on Walls, relocated their annual ‘squat art concept store’ called Santa’s Ghetto from London to Bethlehem and invited 14 other international street artists to join him to work with Palestinian artists. The concept was simple: the artists would make artwork available for sale by auction to the public – but those wanting to buy an original work of art by Banksy or the others had to physically go to Bethlehem, witness Israel’s occupation and checkpoints, and bid in person. The artists also used the opportunity to utilise the Wall as a giant billboard for their own political messages with some massive, stunning images – wall spaces throughout the city were also populated with work that challenged or subverted understandings about the reality faced by Palestinians under occupation. Within a few short weeks, Santa’s Ghetto had raised over $1 million from art sales for local charities and brought Bethlehem and the Wall to the world’s attention in a way that transcended language and engaged millions who wouldn’t ordinarily take an interest in Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine. Just as important, it sent a message to the people of Palestine: you are not alone in your struggle.

Continue reading “Is the spray can mightier than the sword?”