Israeli college cancels show over art ‘resembling Hamas flag’
The text 'could undergo certain adaptations… That is its beauty… it embodies no violence at all'
Israel’s Sapir Academic College announced Sunday that it was nixing the “At the Edge of the Sky” exhibition due to protests over one of the drawings displayed in it.
Members of the right-wing Im Tirtzu NGO objected to the piece - called “No” and created by American visual artist Hillel Roman in 2015 - because they said it resembles the flag of the Islamist Hamas movement, Haaretz reported.
They also voiced outrage for the piece including the Islamic declaration of faith: “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammed is his messenger.”
“The show… includes an installation that aroused a storm of emotions and harsh reactions… the entire exhibition will not open - due to the insult to public feelings,” said a statement by Sapir College, which is in Israel’s southern Negev region.
Alon Davidi, mayor of the nearby town Sderot, said “it is unconscionable, at an academic college in Israel, which… has been the target of [Hamas] rockets for over 20 years, that the flag of Hamas… should be on display.”
After the decision to cancel the exhibition, Roman told Haaretz what inspired his work: “I drew it during Operation Protective Edge [in 2014, in Gaza].”
He said that he read how “Israel supported the organization as an alternative to the Palestine Liberation Organization - I drew it as is, on a black background.”
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“This is a text that appears in many places. It could undergo certain adaptations… That is its beauty… it embodies no violence at all,” he urged.
He did admit, however, that he was aware of the possibility of the work arousing anger.
“I’m not naïve. I knew that the work was likely to spark a reaction. But the fact that the college surrendered to Im Tirtzu is pathetic.”