The Fellows started their journey here 4 weeks ago. They know how to get around the Old City. And the “New” one. They have made friends, earned great admiration and are receiving invitations to numerous events and gatherings. They know where the cool bars are and where to find great hummus.
They are all working intensively on their projects and designing their salons with their Host organization partners. Tonight Vibha, in collaboration with the Jerusalem Food Rescuers, is presenting the most extraordinary evening: Who Owns The Water on Muslala’s beautiful rooftop. The remarkable menu only conveys part of this brilliant and deeply thoughtful process with the extraordinary culinary creations creating the map of the Jordan River. I had such a great time working with Vibha as a volunteer in the Food Rescuer’s kitchen during the “cooking/testing/tasting” session, .
Next week Sofia will present her Salon at the Ibdaa School for the Arts in Sheik Jarrah. She has been meeting with teachers and students there and has devised a brilliant program for the young people she will be working with (during Ramadan!) In her salon, she will talk about bringing her artistic practice to Palestinian youth. The gathering will start with a traditional Iftar meal (where an Ibdaa student will be playing music) followed by Sofia’s presentation and a discussion with a carefully “curated” group of educators, philosophers, artists, and curators.
In spite of all reports, it is calm here in Jerusalem. We visited Bethlehem last weekend, led on a fantastic tour by Palestinian curator, Aline Khoury. We experienced the long drive around the city (which is actually very close to Jerusalem) required to get to the proper checkpoint. Aline took us to the “Walled Off” Hotel (famous for Banksy’s work) and a very sobering tour of the separation wall. Then, because Ramadan started a day earlier than expected, Aline packed a lunch for us which we ate at the beautiful Al Jacir House where she helps run an artist residency program. After lunch we headed to the Church of the Nativity, with a wonderful excursion to Mike’s Ceramic Shop on the way. Father Abdel, who Claudia had met during a previous visit to the city with an olive wood carver Vibha had met while visiting the Armenian church (this is the magic of our Fellows), took us around the Church and explained the different Christian faiths who inhabit the Church.
This Saturday – supposed to be a very hot day – we will visit Tel Aviv with a stop at Chiriya, aka Ariel Sharon Park, a garbage heap transformed into an incredible recycling center/park. The master plan included major participation by the artist Mierle Ukeles. Who we will meet while we are here.