A new fresco by artists Samuel Idmtal and Orlando Kintero for the project “Israël-Palestine: for a better understanding”. This mural is the result of a collaboration between the Aldermen of Culture and Public Education, with the Athenaeum Marguerite Yourcenar and the AIM asbl (Actions In the Mediterranean).
The AIM is a Brussels non-profit organisation active in the fields of Human Rights, feminism and intercultural conflict resolution. AIM implements initiatives for dialogue, conflict resolution and the strengthening of human rights between Europe and the Mediterranean. The “Israel-Palestine: for a better understanding” project carried out by this association was born out of a finding: many hate speeches and acts of violence among young people in Brussels were based on Islamophobic and antisemitic stereotypes often linked to the importation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and terrorist attacks from Brussels and more generally in the world. In order to establish a dialogue and nuance the debates around this conflict, AIM wanted to reach young people through the school system. This project is already in its 5th edition and has brought together young people from different social and cultural backgrounds who would not have been able to meet outside this framework.
Since 2014, public education authorities have been participating in the “Israel-Palestine: to better understand” programme run by the non-profit organisation AIM (Actions in the Mediterranean). The aim of this project is twofold: to enable young people to form a more critical opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by deconstructing stereotypes and prejudices and developing actions of solidarity in favour of peace; and also to make students from different socio-cultural backgrounds work and reflect together in order to promote dialogue, mutual respect and live it together, here and there. Since the creation of this project, the students have participated in various workshops, courses, debates and meetings on the theme of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but have also had the opportunity to go to Jerusalem. After many months of learning and life-changing experiences, these young students have returned to Belgium with the title of ambassadors to continue this work of deconstructing stereotypes and prejudices among their classmates.
In order for the young people to keep a more concrete record of their experience, so that they can create something that reflects their feelings and symbolizes the project and the moments they spent together, the Alderman for Education and the AIM wanted a fresco to be created. Soon, the collaboration with the Alderman of Culture took shape thanks to the PARCOURS Street Art which develops mural painting projects throughout the city.
Samuel Idmtal and Orlando Kintero were chosen by the students to capture these experiences. A journalist and scriptwriter by training but an artist since the beginning, Samuel Idmtal has turned to painting and teaching. Traveller, also a photographer, Samuel Idmtal is a many sided man who evolves in the artistic sphere in the broadest sense of the word. Indeed, he has also made some short films, reports and exhibitions. The artist works with stencils, a technique already seen on the PARCOURS with Alto for the columns of the courthouse. Orlando Kintero, Samuel’s friend and partner, showed an interest in art from an early age by practicing drawing. As a teenager, it was urban art that attracted him and served as a basis for his expression. After studying technical architecture and travelling to Australia rich in experiences and encounters, the young artist will devote himself full-time to his original passion, art.
The two artists had complete freedom of expression, but each element in the fresco has a direct link to this wonderful project. One of the walls represents two teenagers who participated in the project and the wall that currently separates Israel from the West Bank. The second wall refers to a quote from Saint-Exupéry: “Men build too many walls and do not build enough bridges”. Two men are represented on a bridge symbolizing reconciliation. These are Bassam Aramin and Rami Elhanan, 2 fathers, 2 inseparable brothers, whom the 47 teenagers had the opportunity to meet during their trip to Israel-Palestine. Bassam and Rami are members of the Parents Circle Families Forum, which is probably the only association that does not seek to attract new members, as it brings together Israeli and Palestinian families, each of whom has lost a relative in the conflict. These two brothers are now visiting Palestinian and Israeli schools and speaking all over the world to spread a message of peace, dialogue and reconciliation.