Art is not a mirror to hold up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it, so the quote often attribute to Bertold Brecht goes. The place in which this often can be seen most clearly is in relation to resistance art. In Palestine, cultural resistance to settler-colonialism, imperialism, ethnic cleansing, occupation and apartheid has always been part of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and justice. In the 1920s and 1930s, Palestinian poets and musicians wrote poetry and songs depicting the struggle in opposition to British imperialism and Zionist settler colonialism revealing that writers, musicians, poets and song writers and other cultural artists have always played a role in the national liberation struggle.
In the last 6 decades since the Palestinian Nakba, some of the best known resistance artists have include Ghassan Kanafani (writer and political activist) , Mahmoud Darwish (poet and political activist) and Naji – al- Ali (political cartoonist and writer). However, Palestinian cultural and art resistance is everywhere in Palestine – it can be found not only in the form of traditional plays and dance (dabke) performances, but also at Israel’s checkpoints, on the apartheid wall, on the music of Palestinian youth and in the villages and towns of Palestine. It can be found in murals, paintings, poetry, creative art displays, songs, visual art and much more. Here is just a small sample of some of the art of resistance today by Palestinian artists and activists.
A Masterpiece of Resistance — The Artists of Palestine by LAYLA QURAN
Art of resistance: Palestinians plant flowers in Israeli tear gas canisters by RT News
Global Street Art – Palestine: Art in the Streets
Wall art video by PalestineIsraelLove
Palestinian art uses humour to resist – SBS News report
Palestinian hip hop group Dam with their song, Born Here – a protest song about the treatment of Palestinian citizens of Israel.