Art is said to connect people, but that hasn’t been proven often enough in the Middle East. Apart from a few flickers here and there, a steady continuity of artistic collaborations between Jews and Arabs has not been preserved.
The 2011 Speaking Arts Conference, which was held in Jerusalem last week, attempted to bring together dozens of Jewish and Palestinian artists involved in performing arts (music, theater and movement). The conference featured open performances, workshops and mater classes held in a variety of auditoriums across the city.
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The music workshops were led by musician and composer Sameer Makhoul, and the opening concert at the Masie House Theater Center was presented by Achinoam Nini and Gili Dor, with Arab dancer Mona Mashi’l.
Nini and Dor also hosted a master class, in which they discussed their creation process throughout the years.
“It doesn’t happen enough,” says Nini, also known by her professional name Noa. “Not just in Israel but in the world too. It’s very hard to hold such events despite the fact that we are artists and that such connections should hover over everything.
“But you know how it is – many times politics interferes in people’s considerations, both each person’s politics and the political opinions of the macro and micro groups, and then things stop. Or concerned about their career, their status within their society. It can also reach personal safety and very radical places, especially in our region.