Value All these Voices

A project in Ramallah honoring individual and cultural values of participating Palestinians.

Peter Bruun spent two weeks as acultural envoy for the State Department of the United States, working with Palestinian artists, college students, and youth. Each participant created a painting included in a culminating exhibition held at the International Academy of Art Palestine.
Artists created images of the one thing in their lives they value above all else. Sammer elected to portray the sorrow of Palestine, a quality integral to their identity as a people. His painting expresses Palestinian art imbued with melancholy.
A group of college students from the International Academy of Art Palestine (located in Ramallah) with whom Bruun worked. 
Families and artists turned out in great numbers for the exhibition. Bruun stands third from the right in the back row. just in front of him and to his right stands the Minister of Culture for Palestine, and to her right in a suit is the Cultural Attache from the United State's Consulate in East Jerusalem.
This artist, who completed the haunting painting she stands next to in just three short days, lives in East Jerusalem and therefore was unable to travel to Ramallah to see her painting in theValue All these Voices exhibition. Israel's security wall is a daily hardship for Palestinians who find their abilities to travel restricted.
For the exhibition, each artist had his or her name written on the wall in Arabic, along with a phrase describing what it is they most value. This artist illustrated a resilient olive tree, an important symbol of cultural identity to Palestinians.
Beyond facilitating the art making and designing the culminating exhibition (he painted the walls the colors of the Palestinian flag), Bruun included two paintings of his own, one on either side of the gallery, bookending the works by the participating artists. The words "I Value All the Voices in this Room" were written on the wall in English and Arabic by his paintings.
One of the two "value" paintings created by Bruun for the exhibition. Each was made with metallic gold oil paint, an overt image of value. Bruun's role, and the symbolic role of his paintings, was in part to bear witness, to validate the expressions of the participants by himself proclaiming his valuing their beliefs.