by Brittany Arrendondo
Artist residencies serve as platforms for creative expression and cultural exchange. In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the need to address issues of justice, including the Palestinian struggle, racism, and colonialism, within the art community. In this blog entry, we will explore some guidelines on how to engage with these topics respectfully and constructively during artist residencies.
Before delving into discussions on justice for Palestine, racism, or colonialism, equip yourself with a solid understanding of historical and current events. Accordingly, educate yourself on the context, including the Palestinian struggle, systemic racism, and the lasting effects of colonialism. Certainly, this knowledge will help shape your conversations and art in a meaningful and informed manner.
Fosterin Justice in an Open Dialogue
Create a safe and inclusive space for open dialogue within the artist residency. Encourage respectful discussions that allow for the sharing of diverse perspectives while also fostering justice and address racism. Listen actively to others, valuing their experiences and viewpoints. Likewise, embrace the discomfort that may arise and use it as an opportunity for growth and increased empathy.
Amplify Marginalized Voices
Acknowledge and prioritize the voices of marginalized communities, including Palestinians, in conversations addressing justice, racism, and colonialism. Invite guest speakers, artists, or scholars who can provide insights and firsthand experiences. Amplify the stories and narratives that often go unheard, allowing for a more nuanced understanding of the issues at hand.
Foster collaborations, consider partnering with artists or organizations that work towards justice and social change. After all, collaborative projects can spark powerful artistic expressions and address important topics. Ensure that the collaborations are based on mutual respect, consent, and shared goals. Overall, use your platform as an artist-in-residence to amplify the voices of marginalized communities, fostering justice, addressing racism and effecting positive change. There are several amazing art residencies in Palestine and for Palestinian artists with very powerful voices including: Al Ma’mal, Dar Jacir, Qattan Foundation
Recognize the interconnectedness of various forms of oppression, including racism, sexism, and ableism. Additionally, highlight the ways in which these systems intersect with issues of justice for Palestine and colonialism. Emphasize the importance of building solidarity across movements and fostering discussions on how to dismantle these structures.
Acknowledge that as an artist-in-residence, you may inadvertently contribute to or perpetuate structures of injustice. Reflect on your own biases, assumptions, and privilege. Be open to feedback and willing to unlearn and revaluate your approaches. Hold yourself accountable for your actions and strive to be a more conscious artist and ally.
Artist residencies can be transformative spaces for addressing justice for Palestine, racism, and colonialism. By fostering open dialogue, amplifying marginalized voices, embracing collaboration, and addressing intersectionality, artists can use their platforms to effect positive change. Approach these topics with compassion, empathy, and a commitment to learning, ensuring that your art and conversations contribute to a more inclusive and just world. Let your artistic practice become a catalyst for understanding, empathy, and collective action.