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Message from the Editor

As Palestinian artists draw, paint, sculpt, do ceramics, compose music, play an instrument, sing, dance, act, perform pantomime or circus arts, direct films, curate exhibitions, or found and run entire museums, they are in many ways like their colleagues all over the world: They love what they do and do it well. But whether they choose to make the Palestinian cause a central element of their message or create apolitical works – while navigating the daily hardships associated with living under occupation or a relentless siege, in exile, or in the diaspora – they serve a function that is secondary to their artistry. Palestinian artists present an image to the world that differs from what is shown in (most) mass media that tend to reduce Palestinians to stone-throwing youth or angry mourners in funeral processions who call out “Allahu akbar” as they carry to their graves yet another victim that is presented as a terrorist to – seemingly – justify his extrajudicial killing. As Palestinian artists engage in and excel at what they love most, they yield soft power by touching minds and souls, informing, fostering understanding, influencing opinion, and even creating allegiance. These works reflect the diverse, sophisticated, and rich Palestinian culture and heritage, and therefore, their creators are among Palestine’s best ambassadors.

This issue offers a mere glimpse into the impact of Palestinian art on visitors to exhibitions, concert halls, theater stages, and festivals worldwide. TWiP wishes to thank the Rami Zahi Khouri Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub for acquiring the silver sponsorship and NET–Near East Tourist Agency for acquiring the bronze sponsorship. We also express our gratitude to this issue’s authors: Manal Deeb, an international Palestinian-American visual artist; Dr. Inas Salem Deeb, the director of the Rami Zahi Khouri Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub at Bethlehem’s Dar al-Kalima University; Bashar Shammout, a Palestinian sound engineer and expert in digital audio-visual archiving; the Consulate General of Sweden, Jerusalem; Diana Al Shaer, a sports and cultural diplomat; Issa Jamil Kassissieh, a Palestinian scholar and diplomat; Suhail Khoury, the founder of the Palestine Youth Orchestra; writer, director, and producer Najwa Najjar, who is also our Artist of the Month; Ghassan Bardawil, a musician and MSc student living in Brussels; Julia Pitner, the director of programs and operations at the Museum of the Palestinian People in Washington, DC; the Palestine Museum US in Woodbridge, CT; Taisir Masrieh Hasbun, TWiP’s cofounder and art director, and the curator of the Thobes and Bethlehem Reborn exhibitions; Tabea Kerschbaumer, a student of visual journalism and documentary photography; Alexis Paul, an experimental musician, guitarist, composer for cinema, and artistic director; Naseer Arafat, an architect and development and planning specialist; and photographer Ursula Mindermann who, together with a Bethlehemite Palestinian, runs a shop near the Separation Wall. Our Book of the Month is A Vision for My Father: The Life and Work of Palestinian-American Artist and Designer Rajie Cook. Enjoy the listed events.

The entire team at TWiP wishes you a healthy October

 The Tina Basem

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