Press Release: May 15, 2008

International Art Exhibit Marks 60th Anniversary of Palestinian "Nakba" in Virtual Gallery

Artists Capture the Loss of Palestine and Mass Expulsion of Palestinians in First-Ever Exhibit of Its Kind

For immediate release

Contact: Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director, 202-332-0994 or email: congress AT endtheoccupation.org

Washington, DC (May 15, 2008)--Expressions of Nakba, an international multi-media art exhibit opened in Washington, D.C. on May 13. The exhibit will tour several U.S. cities over the coming year and is complemented by the May 15th launch of a Virtual Gallery of artworks at: http://www.expressionsofnakba.org.

The exhibit features works that represent the loss of Palestinian homes and their homeland when the state of Israel was established in 1948, and depicts Palestinian resilience 60 years later.

More than 300 professional, amateur and student artists from 16 countries competed for awards in five categories: visual arts, written word, poster design, audio, and video. An international jury of 17 distinguished artists, writers and filmmakers selected the best works in each category for exhibition and awards.

"I was impressed by the diverse range of artistic submissions. We selected the most compelling pieces for the exhibition, and they range from a portrait of a boy doing somersaults in front of a mural of occupied villages from an artist in France to a series of dramatic and very symbolic images from 'Stateless in Jordan'," said visual arts juror Rania Matar, an award-winning documentary photographer born and raised in the Middle East. "These works portray the survival of the human spirit in the face of unspeakable loss," she added.

Exhibit Commemorates 60th Anniversary of Palestinian "Nakba"

The "Expressions of Nakba" exhibit memorializes the 60th anniversary of the Nakba (Arabic for "catastrophe"), which refers to the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and homeland in 1948 when Israel was established. In worldwide commemorations, some 10 million Palestinians will mourn the homes and properties, towns and cities that were taken from them. Today, more than 4 million registered Palestinian refugees are denied the same right to return accorded to other refugee populations.

"I'm proud to participate in this competition and exhibit which presents not only world-class art, but also the opportunity for people to learn about the Nakba" said Hungarian-born artist Ildiko Toth, living in Portland, Oregon, who was awarded the best poster design. "Growing up, I learned a lot about the Holocaust and about Israel. But through this exhibition, I hope Americans will also understand the Palestinian tragedy. Only when we can put ourselves in Palestinian shoes, and when we're really able to imagine what losing our home would mean, can we understand what it will take for Palestinians and Israelis to achieve peace." she added. Toth's husband is Palestinian and currently resides in Gaza, unable to leave for the past year due to Israel's blockade of Gaza.

Expressions of Nakba is sponsored by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (www.endtheoccupation.org).

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