MAAS student Jessica Devaney and 2008 MAAS graduate Natalia Sancha Garcia were featured in a summer art exhibit, “Multiplicitocracy,” at American University’s Katzen Arts Center May 31 through July 27. Jessica’s documentary film with Mary Andreolli, Beauty in the Uprising: Israeli and Palestinian Art as Resistance, was on display, as was Natalia’s photography of the Middle East and the Maghreb. Descriptions of their work are below.
Jessica Devaney/Mary Andreolli
The documentary Beauty in the Uprising: Israeli and Palestinian Art as Resistance was filmed in the winter of 2005 and 2006 while Devaney was living in East Jerusalem conducting fieldwork for her graduate thesis on feminist peacebuilding efforts in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The film explores the ways art can function as resistance in a context of conflict. Palestinian and Israeli artists discuss their work, their motivation/inspiration, and possibilities they envision for intersections between art and resistance. The film asks questions such as: Can art affect change? Do the arts possess any unique tools for resistance, reconciliation, and peacebuilding? Incorporating mediums from ceramics to traditional dance to theater to poetry to painting, Beauty in the Uprising puts a variety of artists, art therapists, and directors of arts organizations in dialogue with each other, begins to answer some of these difficult questions, and leaves the viewer with yet more questions to ponder.
Natalia Sancha Garcia
In the last five years, Spanish photographer Natalia Sancha-García has spent long periods in the Middle East and Maghreb, where she has had the opportunity to interact with peoples and cultures in times of joy and pain. Through her camera, she has captured daily moments full of meaning and artistic expressions of liberation, anguish or desperation. Her work talks about people suffering and resisting. It rescues the stories and personal paths of families and individuals. It moves the consciences to action.
The project presents 15 photographs of around 14″ × 8 ½”, focused on Society and Culture in Morocco, Mauritania, Tunisia, Algeria, Palestinian Territories, Lebanon and Qatar. They show the lives and artistic initiatives of people in conflictive environments; they approaches ironies, contradictions and cultural challenges. They talk about rebellion and ways of expressing anger and dissatisfaction. Sancha-García’s images are charged of detail, humor and tenderness many times, of bitterness and denunciation many others. Her images ooze respect for the peoples while critical eye and well-defined purpose. Her technique is accurate and brilliant; her awareness of the power of image, overwhelming. In Sancha-García’s work, each image is chosen with intention. Each photograph wants to talk about life, about interaction, about humanity. It is up to the observer to open up that dialogue.