On Monday, a group of Israeli artists will open a new exhibit in the museum’s new “art museum” building on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus.
The new art project, “Milwaukee Art Museum: Israel’s Occupation,” will be on display in the basement of the museum and features paintings by renowned Israeli artist Milana Kavir, who has been fighting the occupation of Gaza since 2000.
Kavir has also been involved in the recent protests in Gaza, where she’s been documenting the daily suffering of the population under Israeli occupation.
Kajol-Dineh, the museum president, says the exhibit is part of a new project in the university’s “cultural history of the Palestinian territories.”
She adds that it is an “interdisciplinary” exhibition that “explores Israel’s actions toward the Palestinian people in the occupied territories.”
It will be called “The Occupation: Israel, Gaza and the Struggle for Freedom and Democracy.”
The Israeli government has occupied the Gaza Strip for more than 70 years.
It’s occupied East Jerusalem, West Bank, and parts of the Gaza strip, which Israel claims as its capital.
Since 1967, Israel has illegally occupied the Palestinian land and has built a Jewish colony there, in a policy that is considered illegal by the international community.
Kawara, the director of the exhibition, told Al Jazeera that the project will focus on the “history of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the impact of the occupation on the Palestinian population and how this history impacts artists.”
“It’s not a museum, it’s an interactive exhibition that tells the story of the artists,” she said.
“It’s an open exhibition that is accessible to the public.”
Kavirs work is a part of the ongoing effort to create a more integrated, inclusive and vibrant Palestinian art scene, said Kawara.
The Palestinian art world, which was largely absent from the exhibition’s opening, is now in a position to take part in the project.
Kavirs project, which will be shown for the first time in Israel, will take place in a museum in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Kanaan, the Jerusalem director of a non-profit arts organization, called the project “important and necessary.”
“Kavira is a Palestinian artist and she has always been a critic of the state of Israel and its policies,” she told Al Jazeerah.
“She has also expressed solidarity with the Palestinian artists and artists from the Occupied Territories.”
Kawaras work in Gaza was “taken to a new level,” according to Kavira, adding that she believes that artists in Gaza are “getting recognition for the work they do and not being rewarded for it.”
Kavanagh, the former director of Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau, says that while Israel has “a long history of exploiting Palestinians, especially women and children in Gaza,” it has also “a particularly egregious record in its treatment of Palestinian artists, which is why artists from Gaza are so often marginalized and excluded from the Israeli arts scene.”
“There’s no excuse for the state to ignore its own history,” he told Al jazeerahs.
Kavanah believes that Israel has been “making progress in the last 10 years” in the fight against its occupation.
But, he said, “the situation in Gaza has deteriorated” and he’s worried that the Israeli government is planning to make a “great wall” in Gaza.
“It will probably take some time for the Israeli side to be able to move forward with that,” he said.
Kawanah said that he’s “really worried” about the upcoming Israeli elections, due to take place on April 12, which he said “should be an opportunity for Palestinians to speak out against the occupation.”
“What we need now is a global movement against the Israeli right wing and the Israeli establishment, and for the Palestinian community to be recognized in the public sphere and to be heard in the international arena.”
Kawanagh says that he hopes to meet with Israeli officials in the coming months to discuss the future of the exhibit and his concerns.
Kavaan, meanwhile, believes that the “Israeli art world needs to take note” of the project and that it’s important for Palestinians not to forget the work that has been done.
“Israel has always had a long history in its art history of using art to advance its interests and interests of the settler elite,” he wrote in an email.
“This is a very good example of how art can play a role in politics.”
The project will be open for 10 days from May 20 to 22.