Whether in Haifa, New York, Amman, London, Beirut or Berlin - today, Palestinians live in all these cities and their countries. Due to historical developments and ever-recurring disagreements, the Palestinians have become almost a homeless and widely scattered nation. The remaining autonomous areas are rich in (sad) history and have one thing in common today: a depressing everyday life in a crisis-ridden situation. There is not much left of what should once have been Palestine.
Bridgeworks has undertaken several research trips to the West Bank over the past two years, speaking with many people and different cultural professionals. After what we have seen and experienced, after many great encounters and moving impressions, we have decided to ask Palestinian artists from the region as our partners for 2020.
The West Bank is so much at the same time: origin of different religions, crisis area, tourist destination, plaything of world politics and above all homeland of incapacitated but joyful people. Divided geographically, but united in their identity, the complex face of a proud and rich culture is revealed. Here, youngest and oldest history bounces so obviously and radically on the present, that a very special energy develops. This cultural space provides material for stories of all kinds. The determination of the cultural workers to make a difference with their work, to name grievances and to tell their stories, has finally induced us to cooperate with Palestinians. There are a variety of artists for whom their work is a tangible tool to stand for social change and a better future.
To cooperate with Palestinians from the West Bank is to cooperate with a conflict region. Two great narratives and a story of confrontation stand opposite each other, separated by a wall, barbed wire and soldiers. The Israeli and Palestinian narratives seem controversial and incompatible
There are many reasons, especially as a German organization, not to cooperate with such a sensitive, politically and historically charged region. Bridgeworks is well aware of the special role that we have because of German history, and sees in this role both a commitment and an opportunity. We reject any form of racism, sexism and discrimination. But as artists, we stand for the freedom to enter into dialogue, to ask questions and to criticize. We build cultural bridges between people and not between ideologies or nations, because culture does not stop at borders or stop walls to exist.
Respectfully, given their history and situation, Bridgeworks is looking forward to a whole year full of encounters and projects, discussions of controversies and similarities, and of course exciting artistic engagements in theater, dance and music.
Kulturbrücke Germany-Palestine ... under construction.