Break the Silence Mural Project, San Francisco Bay Area/Palestine
Break the Silence Mural Project (BTS) was founded in the beginning of the first Intifada by a group of Jewish women artists in the Bay Area who wanted support the Palestinian struggle for human rights by supporting Palestinian art. The project began in 1989 when four BTS members painted a mural at the Popular Arts Center in Ramallah. BTS has since evolved into an arts/activist group committed to using creative projects to facilitate social change and greater awareness of the complexities of the conflict in Occupied Palestine.
The Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA) has funded several BTS projects in Palestine and collaborated on educational events and programs in the United States. Recently, we cosponsored the Olympia-Rafah Solidarity Mural Project, a 4,000 square foot mural with multi-media components in downtown Olympia, WA. MECA was one of the more than 300 groups and individuals from across movements and continents that submitted artwork for the mural and we also provided funds to make this international solidarity project possible.
The mural moves from the local to the global by bringing people together across social justice movements. The images in the mural articulate how the issues of oppression in Palestine and Israel connect to local and national issues. The goal of the project is to use culture to increase the strength and visibility of movements working for social change in Palestine, the US and the world.
In 2001, MECA and the Jojo White Solidarity Project provided funding for BTS to travel to Dheisheh refugee camp and paint a mural in the stairwell at Ibdaa Cultural and Community Center. Then in 2004, we helped BTS go to Al-Taghreed Center in Gaza to paint a mural on the outside of the center. In 2005, MECA supported BTS’s trip to paint murals on the Rachel Corrie Children’s Center in Rafah and the Apartheid Wall near a family’s home in Mas’ha in the northern West Bank. And in 2008, MECA supported a mural on the Edward Said Conservatory of Music at Birzeit University. All of BTS murals are designed and carried out in partnership with the local community.
We are continuing to work together with BTS on a variety of cultural projects that directly support Palestinian organizations while building understanding and appreciation for Palestinian cultural heritage in the Bay Area and the rest of the United States.