GrayLit, December 2018. In this moment, GrayLit: A Culture Hub sets off on a journey defined by social and political aspirations to be decolonial in orientation. It strives to contribute to an emergent culture shift happening at the intersections of Palestinian and Jewish histories, via critical thought and art in connection to interdependent movements for justice.
Sharif Waked’s video Bath Time is a 5 minute video of a donkey standing under running water. It’s simple. White tiles, uneven grout and neon lights imply that we are either in a typical non-descript gym or someplace industrial. There are eight shower heads above our protagonist, we don’t see the actual hardware, just the jets of water. She is wearing a minimalist white harness; one strap encircling her whole head, one across her nose, and a third under her chin.
Efrat Yerday, Writer, scholar, and activist Efrat Yerday shares her perspectives on the history and current position of Ethiopian Jews in Israel, how Ethiopian activism has changed in recent years, and how Ethiopians and Palestinians face the interlocking systems of Zionism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism. The following text, presented in interview format, was developed out of Yerday’s preparation for a panel discussion hosted by the American Jewish Historical Society on contemporary parallel struggles of Ethiopian Jews in Israel/Palestine and Black Lives Matter in the US.
Camille Hoffman (b. 1987, Chicago, IL) My questions around the meaning of home and land, like my paintings, are tumultuous, layered, and liquiform. My collaged surfaces are a working corporal excavation into my past, a critical observance of the history of the earth that I live on, and the unrelenting violence on the multiple lands from which my ancestors come.
Zein El-Amine: Two women, one imprisoned for her words and the other for her armed resistance. One a poet painting her reality behind bars, the other picking up poetry to keep her sanity. One was always engaged in her craft and the other self-identified as a bad poet, more interested in escaping confinement than honing a craft.
MAY 3, 2018: An event with artists working at the intersection of identity, borders, and diaspora, on the day imprisoned Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour received a guilty verdict from an Israeli court for a poem urging her people to resist oppression, in the month that marked over 70 years of ongoing Nakba.
Leor Grady is an israeli artist who through his art investigates the intersection between his personal experiences and different aspects of his identity. Grady’s work explores daily objects and experiences to create a poetic and subversive art. Grady’s art questions/contests the Ashkenazi hegemony that has shaped and controlled the the “official” art and culture world in Israel and most of the Jewish world. Grady’s work brings back voices and events that were excluded from the Zionist narrative and gives them a respectful and poetic stage. Grady uses in his art materials and objects that are accessible and come from his environment.
Amir Guberstein (b. 1985, Ra’anana, Israel) makes maps. He collects data like a cartographer, gathering information about bodies of water and land masses, as well as communities and their borders. Much of his information comes from independent monitoring agencies in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, which work to record the development of Israeli settlements. These resources chart the movements of power, and Guberstein understands mapmaking as a powerful political tool.