If you’re anywhere near the Bay Area this weekend, the “Revolution is Love” Dance Party at the Oakland Palestine Solidarity Mural is where the Valentine celebration is happening. We’re all invited!
A benefit for the Arab Resource & Organizing Center’s (AROC) BDS campaign features DJ Rosa la Rumorosa, Dabke dancing, and some of the best local talent the Bay Area has to offer. After some “inspired activism” and a few cocktails, I’ll be down for a tango lessons with the infamous Abrazo Queer.
OPSM is designed to demonstrate the power of art to effect social change and the global connections embodied in joint struggles for justice. Using the occupation of Palestine as a lens, the mural addresses social and political issues including interlinked histories of colonization, environmental exploitation and international solidarity. In the continued effort to bring awareness and opportunities for interaction with the community, we are excited to present the following events to amplify and further explore the mural’s themes through participatory experiences.
In this fantastic video, muralists describe the meaning behind their panels, includes a thrilling soundtrack by Grammy-nominated Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux’s Somos Sur, featuring Shadia Mansour, and live performance by Palestinian American rap artist Chris Gazaleh, one of the participating muralists (who is also performing at Revolution is Love Valentine dance party):
A few of the participating muralist in the video above. First, Dina Mohammed Matar, one of the panelists, is a visual artist currently living in Bureij refugee camp in Gaza who was unable to travel here. She created the panel in Gaza and it was then re-created on location by volunteers:
I wanted to convey some aspects of our society and of our life here. We love trees, we love life, we have hopes, we love colors. We long for a better life. We love to read. We want to get married, to enjoy life. People outside may think our life is only about destruction, war and misery – this is not so.
Susan Greene from Art Forces, a team of artists whose vision for community projects, especially murals (many in Palestine), use public art to inspire critical thinking, resistance and action,” making visible the connections between struggles for social justice globally“, painted one of the mural panels:
This project brings together a very diverse group of people, it’s amazing the idea that it’s in Oakland, again on occupied land, and making that connection with Palestine. It’s a powerful statement that we’re putting forth here, it’s international solidarity, it’s taking the local to the global.
And lastly, Berkeley’s Nadya Rajas Tannous, who worked on the project with Northern California Friends of Sabeel from start to finish, describes in stark terms why this mural is such a necessary feature on our landscape:
I’m sick of having to go out into the street every couple years and explain to people in this country why we’re human and why Palestinians deserve to live in peace which primarily means turning back on the water, ending the siege of Gaza, ending the occupation and allowing for physical movement of all Palestinian people.
So come on down, right across the street from Uptown Body and Fender (and Gallery), a vital hub of local activism, and join the party! Bay Area DJ Rosa la Rumorosa will spin us into late night and let’s support the Arab Resource & Organizing Center’s (AROC) Boycott Divestment and Sanctions organizing.