Oakland’s Museum of Children’s Art censors “A Child’s View from Gaza”

9 09 2011

[Update 10/3/11:  The exhibit opened at an alternate venue, a minute’s walk from MOCHA.

Thursday, September 29, 10:00am – Wednesday, November 30, 5:00pm

NEW VENUE! 917 Washington Street in Oakland

The exhibit will be open to the public

September 30-November 27

Fridays: 10am-3pm

Saturdays and Sundays: 12pm-6pm

More Info: http://www.mecaforpeace.org/events/oakland-ca-childs-view-gaza-exhibit]

Sample image from A Child's View of Gaza

Oakland's MOCHA denies Bay Area audiences the opportunity to view Palestinian children’s art

The Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA) decided yesterday to cancel an exhibition of art by Palestinian children that was scheduled to open in Oakland on September 24, and run through November 13. As reported in today’s SF Chronicle, months of development had gone into the free exhibit, which was sponsored by nearly twenty local organizations, and featured special activities for children and families, including a cartooning workshop and poetry readings. MOCHA has exhibited wartime art by children more than once in the past, including an exhibit in 2004 by Iraqi children depicting the U.S. invasion that was similar in content to “A Child’s View from Gaza.” This time, however, “there was a concerted effort by pro-Israel organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area to pressure the museum to reverse its decision to display Palestinian children’s art,” according to a media release from the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), who had partnered with MOCHA to present the exhibit. In the eyes of MOCHA board member Randolph Bell, the controversy had become “a distraction” to the main objective of bringing arts education to all children.  On the contrary, Barbara Lubin, executive director for MECA, expressed her dismay that the museum decided to censor this exhibit in contradiction of this very mission: “to ensure that the arts are a fundamental part of the lives of all children,” including the children of Gaza. “We understand all too well the enormous pressure that the museum came under. But who wins? The museum doesn’t win. MECA doesn’t win. The people of the Bay Area don’t win. Our basic constitutional freedom of speech loses. The children in Gaza lose,” said Lubin. More information at www.mecaforpeace.org and sfgate.com Update 9/12: Additional press coverage San Jose Mercury News Huffington Post

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5 responses

12 09 2011
asiansart

Additional coverage:
SJ Mercury News
“The museum has no guidelines or policy on what it deems appropriate for exhibition.

“Many of the drawings have been exhibited in galleries, libraries and churches across the East Coast and Midwest. . . But this is the first time a venue has pulled out of exhibiting the art.”

Via HuffPost:

“Some in the blogosphere have questioned if the pictures were actually drawn by children, while others have circulated petitions in an effort to get the exhibit reinstated.”

13 09 2011
asiansart

This is very sad: a tweet from the Jewish Federation of the East Bay

14 09 2011
asiansart

MECA’s letter-writing campaign:
http://www.mecaforpeace.org/meca-news/tell-mocha-show-childs-view-gaza

Change.org Human Rights Petition
“Show art by all children, including Palestinians”
http://www.change.org/petitions/show-art-by-all-children-including-palestinians

15 09 2011
4 10 2011
asiansart

The exhibit opened at an alternate venue, a minute’s walk from MOCHA.

Thursday, September 29, 10:00am – Wednesday, November 30, 5:00pm

NEW VENUE!
917 Washington Street in Oakland

The exhibit will be open to the public September 30-November 27
Fridays: 10am-3pm
Saturdays and Sundays: 12pm-6pm

More Info:
http://www.mecaforpeace.org/events/oakland-ca-childs-view-gaza-exhibit

Oakland Tribune: Disputed Palestinian children’s art exhibit shown near Oakland children’s museum, Sept. 24, 2011
http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_18971538

“The Alliance’s executive director, Barbara Lubin, said she received a call Friday afternoon from a museum representative asking to meet with her group to discuss rescheduling the exhibit.

“I just laughed,” she said. “I said, ‘You must be crazy; we have spent the last three weeks looking for a place to display (the artwork.) … I
can’t believe you have the chutzpah (audacity) to call me at this late date.’ I have just signed a lease on a space for (an exhibit) for the next two months.”
. . .
“She is traveling to Gaza next month to collect new artwork from the children based on how they feel about having their exhibit banned from the museum.

“Lubin said she will consider working with the museum to show this set of artwork as long as they do not censor the show.”

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