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'Art, Alterity: Beyond the Other as Enemy in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict'

To expand dialogue among Bates College students about Palestinian-Israeli relationships, the Multifaith Chaplaincy announces a two-week series of events, “Art and Alterity: Beyond the Other as Enemy in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” Several of these events, held from Jan. 27 to Feb. 10 in the Bates College Chapel, College Street, are open to the public free of charge.

Bates junior Anna Levy of Portland visited Israel twice in 2007. The second trip focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Levy returned home wanting to discuss what she had learned.

“At Bates, we’re taught to be critical thinkers,” says Levy, who hopes that these important intellectual skills can be applied to problems in the Middle East. But she found that the subject on her campus was either largely ignored or created conflict when discussed.

Levy approached Multifaith Chaplain William Blaine-Wallace, who has facilitated several on-campus conversations on the subject of Israeli-Palestinian relations, to suggest bringing the art exhibition “The X-Ray Project” to Bates. In consultation with Assistant Chaplain Emily Wright-Timko, Blaine-Wallace expanded upon Levy’s idea by offering a series of arts-related events that would encourage members of the Bates and L-A communities to reconsider definitions of humanity and solutions for peace.

The series begins with an opening reception for “Inside Terrorism: The X-Ray Project” at 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27, where artist Diane Covert introduces her work graphically depicting the effects of terrorism on a civilian population. Her highly acclaimed and critically reviewed art installation features X-rays and CT scans from the two largest hospitals in Jerusalem. The images were taken of victims of terrorism, including Jews, Muslims, Christians and Hindus, who sustained such injuries as a watch “blasted” into the neck or a hex nut embedded in the chest. “The X-Ray Project” will be on display in the Chapel through Sunday, Feb. 10.

In the second “Art and Alterity” event, the Apple Hill Chamber Players perform the music of Beethoven, Ravel and Schubert at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 4.

The Apple Hill Chamber Players are unique in music. They have earned international praise for vital, elegant and eloquent performances and recordings of the chamber music literature, from established masterpieces to new works by leading composers.

Founded in 1973, the Apple Hill Chamber Players are the performing artists and faculty for the internationally celebrated Apple Hill Festival in East Sullivan, N.H., where they are joined by professional, student and amateur participants of all ages from all over the United States and the world.

The Apple Hill Playing for Peace Project is dedicated to using Apple Hill concerts, residencies and scholarships to further the causes of world peace and understanding at Apple Hill and worldwide. Annually since 1988, the Apple Hill Chamber Players have toured both nationally and in the Middle East and Europe, performing, conducting master classes and awarding Playing for Peace scholarships that bring musicians of diverse backgrounds and conflicting cultures to Apple Hill.

The dramatic story of the group’s 1992 tour of Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Syria was documented by Emmy award-winning Peter Rosen in the namesake PBS film “Playing for Peace,” seen by more than 4 million viewers.

The “Art and Alterity” series continues with a memorial service for civilian victims of terrorism and war at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6.

The series concludes with an art experience provided by Artsbridge Inc. at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7. Many Palestinian and Israeli youth have difficulty imagining a future that includes peace and coexistence with their neighbors; it is even harder for them to recognize their potential to create positive change in their environment and future.

The Salem, Mass.-based Artsbridge utilizes collaborative art projects to foster creative vision, empathy and skills in communication, teamwork, project management, leadership and conflict resolution. Through this process, Artsbridge aims to empower Israeli and Palestinian youth to cope with conflict and trauma, trust and understanding, peace and coexistence, desires and fears.

At Bates, Deborah Nathan and Yousef Al Aljarma, founders of Artsbridge Inc., will facilitate an art experience for students, staff and faculty and members of the public.

For more information about the “Art and Alterity” series, call the Multifaith Chaplaincy at 207-786-8272. Co-sponsors of the series are the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Harward Center for Community Partnerships, the Office of the President, the Department of Sociology, Students for Justice in Palestine, Bates Hillel, Temple Shalom Synagogue-Center and the Maine Council of Churches.



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