23 Aug

I got to know Cake$, Palestinian street artist, thanks to ROBBY RENT: Friend, colleague, exceptional Photographer, street art enthusiast, hardened Traveler!

For this reason I prefer to send you back to his website, where you can find a very interesting interview and several shots of Cake$' stencils.

Here below, I just like to quote Robby's introduction to their conversation, before leave word to the Artist!

Once you pass through the checkpoint that leads to West Bank, it’s hard not to come across Cake$ artworks. 

He works under the weight of an increasingly oppressive Israeli occupation. 

His mission? Fight with stencils and paint to affirm Palestinians rights and existence..


How does STREET ART (both in general and yours one) approach, raise, respond and bring to public attention the GEOPOLITICAL ISSUES?

All people who consider the role of 'the WALLS' (Apartheid Wall) in Palestine should know that it has nothing to do with border. It is tool of opression (racism) where it's symbolic value blends together with the role of the WALLS as practical tool from preventing people 'to go'. 

I  call it 'HUMAN WAREHOUSE' becasue people are kept in Palestine under occupation and banished as a second category citizens for nothing.  

'HUMAN WAREHOUSE' definition emphasize that in the eyes of priviliged (full citizens of Israel) these people are no longer needed and their rights as a human beings are not taken upon consideration anymore. They are considered by establishment and mainstream economy as useless even as a workforce.

The WALLS (Apartheid Wall in Palestine) prevents not only second category citizens to enter but also full citizens of Israel to go and see 'what the hell we have done to these people'.  It's easier to violate and not respect basic human rights when you don't  see.

Nobody understands situation of Palestinian People better than black people in United States. They are kept in ghettos and prisons (behind the WALLS) and are relegated to second class citizens in very similar way Palestinians are. It was true 50 years ago and it is true nowadays. Let's consider this:
1. Where Blacks are often killed by the police for nothing more but being Black... Soldiers kill Palestinians in Israel for nothing more but being Palestinian.
2. So called 'War on drugs' in US and 'War on Terrorism' in Israel created under class or new untouchables. People who can't vote, can't get decent job, can't get public housing and welfare. These people are Blacks in US and Palestinians in occupied Palestine.
3. There is story told by political establishment that if you will be good enough... good Palestinian or good Black ... you will succeed and you will be accepted by mainstream society, but the reality on the ground is opposite.
4. Both US and Israel tells whole world that their politics are 'color blind' and they use 'racial bribe' to convince us it is true. It isn't.
5. As in America people of color were put into ghettos during segregation era and police was sent there on so called 'war on drugs' from 1983 till now, Palestinian were put into West Bank and Gaza between 1948 and 1967 and Occupation Forces were sent there on so called 'war on terrorism' till now to - in both cases - create under class of People.

With this reading of the situation I understand my artistic practice as a voice against racism, occupation and colonial project not only in Palestine but anywhere in the world.
When political power wants to see our experience of art as sensory pleasure and want to be arbiter of our inner and social lives, painting 'the WALLS' might be the way to create a sort of "aesthetics of reparation" and decolonizing culture.
My aesthetic can be directed as much as a call to action, but it's not under my control, whereas it depends on geolocated viewers. Due to my anti-racist art practice I can address what it means belonging to under class and imagine radically a better situation, criticizing the rhetoric of LOVE for oneself (consider Robert Indiana 'AHAVA' (LOVE) 1977, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem) which is at the basis of the hate for the others.

Essential Reading on the topic:
1. 'The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine' Ilan Pappé 2006 One World Oxford:
2. Black Power and Palestine: Transnational Countries of Color, Michael R. Fischbach, Stanford University Press, 2018
3. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander, The New Press. 2012

[credit: Amir Mauge]

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