Objective: Jamaa al-Yad is a cultural association the aim of which is the research, implementation, dissemination, and reestablishment of various cultural manifestations including but not limited to craft, design, and art, by focusing on the local, vernacular, indigenous, and popular, using methodologies and means that ideologically reflect models of collaboration, co-operation, and communality, in the belief that such works and such actions are historically shown to, and continue to be likely to, bring about beneficial social change and a betterment of the commonweal.
From the Declaration of the Palestinian People during the first intifada in 1987:
We will no longer be a subject people. If you order us to our camps, we will roam the countryside. Dig up our soil and bury us alive in it if you will. If you direct us to work in your factories, we will confine ourselves to our homes. Herd us into concentration camps if you will. If you instruct us to buy your produce and your products, we will grow and make our own.
In a letter to the Congress of South African Trade Unions, Zwelinzima Vavi spells out very clearly the similarities between South African apartheid and the current situation in occupied Palestine. He states:
From our own experience, we know how painful and dehumanizing is the system of segregation, otherwise known as apartheid….What other definition would so fittingly define a system based on different rights and privileges for Jews and Arabs in the Middle East? The bantustanization of Palestine into pieces or strips–West Bank, Ramallah, Gaza Strip and so on–run by Israel and with no rights whatsoever for the Palestinians, is definitely an apartheid system.
We are currently witnessing a critical mass of global movements coming together and organizing their efforts at boycotting, divesting from, and sanctioning the Zionist entity. Two groups on the American University of Beirut campus have formed to directly address issues of local BDS activism; a few of AUB”s clubs have signed on to help. All are in need of a continuing support system for media, graphics, and other informational media such as brochures, posters, and the like. This workshop will in fact be an ongoing organized entity working in the traditional collective manner of historical and revolutionary art collectives whose goal will be supporting both local and global needs for graphic material related to the global campaign.
To establish a locus of graphics production, borrowing from the methods of historical artists” collectives and working in traditional and craft-based means of graphics production, that will follow the growing BDS movement, evaluate the needs thereof, and answer with a variety of support materials for both local and global groups.
A newsprint periodical documenting the crimes and criminals of apartheid Palestine. The newspaper would include recipes for wheatpaste and instructions for pasting up work, such that the pages become activated upon the city street. Posters would illustrate the social reality of apartheid on the ground in Palestine. Posters would feature Lebanese proverbs based on their secondary meaning relevant to land, usurpation, boycotting, etc.
We will form working groups to take on individual projects, tasks, and themes, as well as the publication. We will be working with a project folder system that will allow for communal work on the various projects, as well as feedback on ideas, research, input into the process, etc. All research and initial sketching is communal; feedback and internal critique is critical at this point. Final pieces may be worked collectively or individually.
5. EXPECTED REALIZATIONS
Awareness of the connection between economic and political displacement. Re-activation of craft traditions and the small press movement. Establishment of a self-sustaining working group that would be a center for graphics and information dissemination on the subject of BDS.