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Arting Jerusalem- June 2003 

This project originates in the belief that art possesses the power of change, and that art’s natural place is in open space and among people. My desire is to reveal the art: to expose it to people who don’t necessarily attend museums and art galleries.

I located Jerusalem as the center of the project, trying to eliminate the many political and religious barriers that reside within it. Jerusalem as I in vision it as a neutral place that carries a great historical and cultural load; due to objective circumstances, this load – this burden – is yet to be molded artistically in it’s true, fundamental level.

I see art as a tool for conjoining the various narratives set free to roam the city – creating something that is whole for the sake of those for whom Jerusalem is a place to wake up to, go to work and walk the dog in – an object of love and hate. Jerusalem has often been dealt with plenty by various artists, whose works usually included historical, religious and political elements. It’s difficult to approach it as a place in which ordinary people live – a city like any other. When an artist makes art in Jerusalem, he or she get to it with their preliminary conception of the city’s history, be it recent or ancient, and their work will always be affected by those various factors. I wish to leave the common dogmatic approaches behind. I wish (maybe naively) to create in an emotional manner – in a way that will rid me of the city’s burden of history.

As I see art as a tool of bringing people closer to emotional experiences – of granting them such experiences – I’ve decided to construct a project that will treat art the way I like to treat it: as a social – rather then class-related – tool. My goal in this project is to expose as many people as possible to the beauty and amazement that lie within the discovery of art, and to the experiences that derive from it, all by filling the city with color and objects of wonder and interest.

The project will take place in 70 different locations throughout the city, in different hours of the day. Most of the works will be in the open air, in Jerusalem's streets. I strongly believe that the projects’ participants should be young artists with robust social awareness. The artists in question – people of different media and artistic likings – would be able, or so I hope, to neutralize the toxins inhaled by the residents and streets of Jerusalem daily using fresh, label-free creativity.

The act of choosing Jerusalem as the project’s center was not an easy one. Due to the political and emotional tense related to the city, I’m obliged to be extra-careful. The situation in Israel is very complicated, especially to people who see the news from outside Israel. But this complicated situation is our reality; Christians, Jews and Moslems

You artists, who come from abroad, are probably aware of the city’s sensitivities and political implications, and hopefully willing to work knowing this event is to harm no one’s feelings. Such offense to any of Jerusalem’s residents will undermine the project.

Walking on the fire line, between the sensitive political situation and the desire to do art to the people in Jerusalem is my goal.

It is our intend that the works will cause no harm to the feelings of the Jerusalem residence

Liron Meshulam 2003

Arting Jerusalem was a collaboration project between Musrara School of Photography and New Media in Jerusalem and Fondazione Pistoletto (Cittadellarte) in Biella

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