Monday, May 15, 2006
The Brandeis Controversy
"Samah al-Azza, 13, created this painting for an exhibit at Brandeis that was later removed."
I haven't really followed the Brandeis affair and I haven't seen all of the paintings, but this one doesn't look so innocent. As a Jew, I find that snake curled up in the form of a star of David offensive. I wouldn't object to these types of paintings being shown, but I would certainly want it to be in some kind of framework, with a variety of critical perspectives offered. Otherwise, there is the risk that these paintings will be seen as innocent, "natural" responses of Palestinian children to Jewish/Israeli "oppression". In fact, they are anything but innocent expressions of "victimhood". These kids are part of a political struggle, and they know it very well. In this picture, the teenager who drew it used an graphic vocabulary/esthetic that she knew would get social approval.