Vermont Press Releases

Premiere of ‘Think of Others,’ Palestine-themed Collaborative Art Project at 2016 South End Art Hop

News Release — Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel (www.vtjp.com)
September 4, 2016

Contact: Michelle Sayles ([email protected])
VTJP Contact: Marc Estrin ([email protected])

Premiere of “Think of Others,” Palestine-themed, Collaborative Art Project, at 2016 South End Art Hop, Sept. 9 -11, inspired by a poem by Mahmoud Darwish, the national poet of Palestine

A large-scale, Palestine-themed art project by a collaborative of seven Vermont artists is premiering at the 2016 South End Art Hop in Burlington, Vermont, from Friday, September 9, through Sunday, September 11. It will be hanging in the alley behind SEABA (http://seaba.com/art-hop/2016-artist-site-description/).

This collaboration was sponsored by Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel (ww.vtjp.org). The following artists contributed pieces: Marita Canedo, Elizabeth Kelly, Michelle Sayles, Jen Berger, Gregory Giordano, Delia Robinson, and Robert W. Brunelle, Jr.

The finished work will consist of a series of ten canvas panels, each approximately 3.5’ by 6’ in dimension. It was inspired by the poem Think of Others (text below) by the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, one of the world’s pre-eminent poets during his lifetime. He published more than 30 volumes of poetry and eight works of prose. His public readings were major cultural events, and many of his poems were set to music. He was also a son of Palestine, and was recognized internationally as its national poet. His work is revered by millions of Palestinians in Israel, the occupied territories (the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza) and in the Palestinian Diaspora.

Darwish was born in the village of al-Birwa, in the western Galilee, in 1941, and died in 2008. Although identified with the land and indigenous people of Palestine, Darwish, who lived most of his adult life in exile, described himself once as a man of both Palestinian Jewish and Arab cultures. When a just peace and reconciliation comes to Israel-Palestine, “the Jew will not be ashamed to find an Arab element in himself, and the Arab will not be ashamed to declare that he incorporates Jewish elements,” he wrote.

“Think of Others” is a poem whose internal compass points toward the forced dispossession of the country’s Palestinian Arab people in 1948, the unrelenting oppression of Israeli military occupation and colonization of the West Bank and Gaza since 1967, and the plight of millions of Palestinian refugees for nearly 70 years. But it also has a universal resonance. To borrow from the last line, it is “a candle in the dark” for humanity.

The artistic director of this project, as well as a contributor, is Michelle Sayles, Burlington artist, cartoonist and activist. She is the creator of the street comic “Najawa,” also inspired by the history and liberation struggle of the Palestinian people. It premiered at the 2015 Art Hop and has been exhibited at other Vermont venues in Burlington, Colchester, Richmond and Glover.

VTJP would like to thank ONE Arts Center in Burlington’s Old North End for use of its studio space.

Think of Others

by Mahmoud Darwish

As you prepare your breakfast, think of others
(do not forget the pigeon’s food).
As you wage your wars, think of others
(do not forget those who seek peace).
As you pay your water bill, think of others
(those who are nursed by clouds).
As you return home, to your home, think of others
(do not forget the people of the camps).
As you sleep and count the stars, think of others
(those who have nowhere to sleep).
As you express yourself in metaphor, think of others
(those who have lost the right to speak).
As you think of others far away, think of yourself
(say: If only I were a candle in the dark).

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