Visiting Palestinian scholar-pastor praises value of Palestinian art
The Rev. Mitri Raheb, a visiting scholar at Yale Divinity School who was recently featured on a "60 Minutes" broadcast about Christians in the Holy Land, gave a talk on the importance of art in Palestine at New Haven's United Church on the Green on June 23, opening a two-week display of Palestinian art at the church. [Click here to view a video of the talk.]
All too often, Raheb says, "Palestine" is understood only as a land of conflict and sorrow. But there is much more to Palestine than conflict, Raheb notes, and looking at Palestine through the eyes of artists is one way to gain "totally different insights to life in Palestine."
On display at the United Church until July 6 are 13 pieces of art created by 13 Palestinian artists, both Christian and Muslim. The theme of the exhibit is "Room for Hope." United Church is located at the corner of Temple and Elm Streets, New Haven. Until Friday, July 6, the exhibit is open by appointment by calling the church at 203-787-4195.
Raheb is pastor of Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem and president of The Diyar Consortium, a group of Lutheran-based, ecumenically oriented institutions serving the Palestinian community. He is a recipient of the international award "Deutscher Medienpreis" for 2011 in recognition of his peace efforts, joining previous honorees such as the Dali Lama (2008), Bill Clinton (1999), Nelson Mandela (1998), Yasir Arafat (1995), Yitshak Rabin (1995), Steffi Graf (2007), and Bono (2005). Raheb's most recent book is The Invention of History: A Century of Interplay between Theology and Politics in Palestine.
Prior to the display in New Haven, the art was part of a larger exhibition in Minneapolis, where 35 "Room for Hope" pieces were shown. About two-thirds of the items on display were sold, according to Raheb, leaving 13 for the New Haven display.
The exhibition will make its way around the country during the course of the next year, Raheb said. As pieces are sold, they will be replenished with more works of art from Palestine.
Partnering with the United Church in bringing the exhibition to New Haven is Bright Stars of Bethlehem, an Illinois-based nonprofit founded in 2003 to promote and spread the word about the many outreach ministries of Christmas Lutheran Church "to build hope and a brighter future for Palestine."