Sep 18, 2009
What if you had something really important to say and wanted everyone to know about it? How would you inform the world? And I'm not talking about a really great opinion, or an epiphany you had while sitting on your sofa. I'm talking about something burning your insides, something stemming not from thought, but from emotions.
The Parents Circle - Palestinian and Israeli Bereaved families for reconciliation have such a thing they want the world to understand, and starting September 12, they're using the Israel Cartoon Museum as their current ground to say it with the Caricatures in Conflict exhibition.
"The idea for a cartoon exhibition came after one of the members in our forum attended a cartoons seminar," Robi Damelin, a member of the forum, explains, "After he told me of it, I thought that a cartoons exhibition, revolving around our themes, would be a communicative method with which to deliver our message to people who usually don't hear it."
The Parents Circle is a unique grassroots organization whose power stems from the collaborative reconciliation work of its members - more than 500 families, half Israeli and half Palestinian - who have all lost an immediate family member in the conflict. The message they wish to bring is a simple one, yet so very unpopular - they wish to promote a message of reconciliation as an alternate option to the ongoing violence, hatred and revenge.
Cartoonist Michel Kishke is the curator of the show, and the one with all the contact information to cartoonists around the world. "Curating the exhibit has been an immense challenge, as caricatures by their very nature can be abusive and extreme, funny and painful. Nevertheless, the Parents Circle agreed to show all of these works no matter how painful or cynical, in order to illustrate the absurdity of the conflict," he says.
"It was pretty easy to get the cartoons, almost everyone was happy to assist," Damelin reveals, "I feel that people usually want to do something about situations that bother them or that they care about, but they just don't know what to do. The only one who couldn't take part was an Iranian cartoonist who gave his blessing but said he's too afraid of his government to participate."
Famous cartoonists from all over the world have contributed to this exhibition. Among them are Donnely: The New Yorker, No-Rio: Japan, Plantu: France, Zapiro: South Africa, Wilcox: Australia, El-Roto: Spain, Bromley: UK and many more.
Damelin's favorite cartoon is 'The Bullet'. It depicts a bullet chasing a child and the caption reads 'this is the bullet that broke the child, that broke the families, that broke the town that broke the state that was seeking revenge from the country that broke the heart of the world'. "For me that embodies all our beliefs, our ideas and our hopes," she says.
For the exhibition a calendar was made with images from the exhibition. In the calendar all holidays - Jewish, Muslim and Chrisitian are marked. "We want everyone to be able to buy it, use it, and think of what we believe in," says Damelin.
Cartoons in Conflict runs at The Israel Cartoon Museum, 61 Weizmann St. Holon from September 12 to December 12. visit www. Cartoonmuseum.org.il for more details.
Cartoon: Ares, from Argentina.
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