New York, August 30, 2010−OneVoice Israel’s (OVI) “freeze party” Thursday was introduced to the public with catchy political posters designed by artist Keren Almog.
Almog was originally drawn to art from her love for cinema. Creating visual products to inspire people and instill emotion, she believes that touching people through art can help give them the power to become more involved in matters such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Her posters for OVI’s “freeze party”, an event that urged people to support an indefinite freeze on settlement construction, portrayed various Israeli government officials at a beach party.
Do you think art has a role to play in conflict resolution, and specifically in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
In my opinion, the role that art has in conflict resolution is getting people to become more involved, to attract the attention of those that stay indifferent toward the subject. In the matter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I feel as if it’s even more important because most people have reached a point where they have given up on the idea of finding a real solution for the conflict. I feel that art touches this subject and has the power to get them more interested in becoming involved.
Describe how art can serve as a means to conflict resolution, according to your work?
As I already said, I don’t believe art has the power to solve the conflict. I believe that the real power of art is making people feel, and when people start feeling eventually they’re more likely to start caring. In my work I try to design something that will be interesting enough for those who see it to take a second look and make them feel even the slightest emotion, it it’s a small smile, anger, or even sadness. If I manage to do that than later on they’ll re-think what they saw and from that point it’s going to matter to them more than before.
What do you think about when creating art that involves or relates to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Who are you speaking to or reaching out to?
When I start a project that relates to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I try to think of the best way to make the subject less intimidating but at the same time keeping the subject real and serious. Most of the time, the people I’m trying to reach are the people who feel the same things I’m feeling toward the subject. This is the voice of the majority that just wants things to settle down, the majority that doesn’t feel any kind of hatred but their voice fades into the voice of the extremists. Because of that they don’t feel the need to become involved. So I do my best to design by work to draw their attention and to let them know that they should make their voice heard.
Does politics have a role in art and what part does art play in politics?
I don’t think politics has a role in art for the reason that art should be free from rules and limitations. I do think that a lot of designers and artists use their work to influence and take a stand toward certain manners in politics. I think that as long as we’re open to the idea of criticizing political matters then we’re open to the idea that political decisions aren’t always made for the right reasons.
How does OneVoice’s message of two states for two peoples affect your opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
I believe that the most realistic solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the one that OneVoice is suggesting. Two states for two peoples in my opinion is the best staring point toward the peace agreement.
Tell us how you were first drawn to art and your journey of establishing yourself? Is there a medium you’re most comfortable in expressing yourself?
If I remember correctly, my first attraction toward visual art started with my love for the movies. It’s not that I used to watch old classics or the special effect movies, but the idea that someone can create a visual product that will move you and will make you go through some kind of an experience. That amazed me and drew me toward the idea that I wanted to be able to do the same thing. My biggest attraction is toward the digital media format, but I’ve come to learn that the print format is sometimes even more powerful and more challenging.
Tell us more about your inspiration when creating the poster for our freeze party.
It’s funny to say but my inspiration for the poster came from a “Spring Break Party” flyer. For me it was very important to get people to look at the poster and try to figure out what they’re looking at. Once they realize that they’re looking at their prime minister dancing around in his bathing suit, then they’ll be more interested in reading more and finding out what the event is all about.