Can We Do It Through Art?

25 03 2009


Sutter's Add in the Haaretz

Sutter's Add in the Haaretz

When politics fail, perhaps we should pave the way for the arts.

A Swiss artist called Olivier Sutter posted an advertisement in the Israeli Haaretz earlier this week, sponsored by the Swiss Arts Council, Pro Helvetia. The add offers NIS 8,000 (Israeli Shekels) to anyone who knows individuals that look like the eight people displayed in the ad.

The project, called “Enemies,” focuses on breaking down stereotypes and prejudices that are now engraved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by highlighting physical similarities through photography. Sutter had worked on a similar project for French-speaking and Flemish-speaking Belgians who have long had tensions. It’s time for the Middle East now.

I could not help but feel a sense of satisfaction when news about the project surfaced. In so many ways, it is in sync with the focus of this blog: we are more similar than we think, if only we open our eyes and really look at each other. A fellow blogger, Layla, posted comments on the same article. You can read her post here.

The exhibition opens next month in Switzerland and will tour in several other countries in Africa. I hope it gets a stage in Israel and the Palestinian territories, if not around all of the Middle East.



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