Art Forces uses community public art and technology, including murals, websites, social and new media, to inspire critical thinking and action.
From the streets of San Francisco Bay Area to Olympia Washington, to refugee camps of Palestine and Lebanon, the projects make visible histories and relationships that have been obliterated and forgotten, making connections to national and global issues of social justice, borders, precarity, migrations and decolonization. Learn more about us.
Walls Tell Stories
I Witness Silwan–Who is Watching Whom?
The Will To Live–Arab Liberation Mural, Clarion Alley, SFCA
Oakland Palestine Mural & Off the Wall
My Home is Not a Suitcase, Silwan, East Jerusalem
Walls Tell StoriesMulti-media mural tours
I Witness Silwan–Who is Watching Whom?Silwan, East Jerusalem
The Will To Live–Arab Liberation Mural, Clarion Alley, SFCAArab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), Art Forces and Clarion Alley Mural Project announce “Arab Liberation Mural.” Located in historic Clarion Alley, the mural celebrates and honors the lives of five Arab leaders: Rasmea Odeh, Mehdi Ben Barka, Naji Diafullah, Leila Khaled, Basel Al Araj and Yasser Murtaja. They were chosen for the mural because of their exemplary bravery and courage in speaking truth to power. Created in collaboration with AROC’s youth program, AYO!, local and international artists, the mural manifests and expresses the resilience and resistance of the Bay Area community to attacks on freedom and liberties of Arab, Muslim, people of color, immigrants and refugees. The mural serves to inspire and educate with an audio program that the viewer can call to hear interviews and descriptions of each person portrayed in the mural as well as the meanings of the mural’s images and translation of the iconic Tunisian poem “The Will to Live”, whose lines are depicted in the sun rays. The mural’s location will ensure high visibility as more than 200,000 people visit Clarion Alley each year. The Will to Live~ Abu Al-Qasim Al-Shabbi If, one day, the people wills to live Then fate must obey Darkness must dissipate And must the chain give way And he who is not embraced by life’s longing Evaporates into its air and fades away
Oakland Palestine Mural & Off the WallTHE OAKLAND PALESTINE SOLIDARITY MURAL (OPSM) OPSM makes visible the global connections embodied in joint struggles for justice. Using the occupation of Palestine as a lens, the mural addresses interlinked histories of colonization, environmental exploitation and international solidarity. Partners The Estria Foundation, Art Forces, NorCal Friends of Sabeel with support from Uptown Auto Body and Fender OFF THE WALL The Oakland Palestine Solidarity OFF THE WALL is: 1- a series of events and exhibits held across the street from the mural at the Uptown Body and Fender shop.A series of place-making events at the wall and at Uptown Auto Body 2- Audio programming CALL THE WALL Call 510-269-8333 To hear from each artist and organizing partners ext 11: Nidal El Khairy ext.12: IROT ext. 13: VYAL ext. 14: Emory Douglas ext. 15:Chris Gazaleh ext. 16:Erin Yoshi ext. 17: Deadeyes ext. 18: SPIE ext. 19: Susan Greene ext. 20 Dena Matar
My Home is Not a Suitcase, Silwan, East JerusalemMy Home is Not a Suitcase and I Am No Traveler Silwan, East Jerusalem A project of Art Forces,Madaa Creative Center and Middle East Children’s Alliance. As the Palestinian village of Silwan, East Jerusalem struggles against unrelenting dispossession by Israeli occupation, a group of international muralists are invited to help paint stories that record and reinforce the enduring idea of ‘home’, samud (steadfast resistance) and joint struggle. The project began in 2015 and continues to this day to turn Silwan into a mural environment covering thousands of square feet.
Ongoing Projects, USA, Palestine & Lebanon
Mourning & Action: 3 Refugee Camps in Lebanon
A Tale of Two Cities: Olympia-Rafah Solidarity Mural Project, Olympia WA
MAIA Mural Brigade, Gaza, Palestine
Aamer Mural, West Bank, Occupied Palestine
Mourning & Action: 3 Refugee Camps in LebanonMourning and Action is a collection of three ongoing projects of commemoration, in refugee camps in Lebanon. Click on any of the items below to visit the individual projects.
A Tale of Two Cities: Olympia-Rafah Solidarity Mural Project, Olympia WAA Tale of Two Cities: Olympia-Rafah Solidarity Mural Project 2007-present Corner of State & Capital in Olympia WA. Four thousand sq. ft., interdisciplinary mural with over 200 participants from all over the world. The mural celebrates the lives of all who struggle for justice. Project is inspired by the life of Rachel Corrie, who was born in Olympia and killed in 2003 in the Gaza Strip. CALL THE WALL To hear from/about each participant and image in the mural. 360-252-9779, Ext. 101-217 Project of Art Forces and the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice.
MAIA Mural Brigade, Gaza, PalestineGaza, Palestine
2011 and 2013
Imagine there is no water for up to 14 hours, or more, every day. Imagine that the water you do have is polluted. And then imagine that if you dig a well on your own property you risk being jailed or worse for not having the correct permit. This is what is happening in Palestine where the Israeli Occupation systematically denies Palestinians adequate quality and quantities of water, often diverting it for the use of Israelis. Environmental inequities exist all over the world, including here in the USA. This is why we invite you to join the #Water4Gaza campaign and participate in a global movement for environmental justice!
Aamer Mural, West Bank, Occupied PalestineMas'ha, West Bank, Palestine 2004-2005 An 8′ x 40′ mural on the Wall, in collaboration with the Aamer family, and solidarity organizations. The Aamer's house is surrounded by the Wall on all four sides. The father of the family told us that after the project his children played outside for the first time in a year. He said: “When you come here and paint with the children it makes them feel like they can live.” Click above to see a documentary about the Aamer Family and mural project by Alan Greig.
Our Roots are Still Alive, SF CA
Mapping Environmental Justice, Exhibit, SF CA
Edward Said Mural, SF State U, SF CA
Rachel Corrie Youth Ctr, Rafah, Gaza Strip
Popular Arts Center, El Bireh, Palestine
Edward Said Conservatory, Bir'Ziet, Palestine
Sons of the Sun, Ramallah, Palestine
Bi'lin, West Bank, Palestine
D'heisheh Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, Palestine
Remember the Orange Trees, Beit Hanoun, Gaza
Our Roots are Still Alive, SF CASan Francisco CA 1990 After returning from three months living and working in Palestine BTS focused on fulfilling its mission of bringing back information about Palestine to the American public. BTS painted a mural locally about the situation for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. BTS made links between Palestine and the life of refugees everywhere particularly in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco, long a haven for refugees the world over. This mural was covered up in 2001 because of constant and increasingly virulent attacks, coupled with the city’s inability to protect it. BTS hope to be able to uncover and rededicate the mural when Palestinians and all oppressed people have justice.
Mapping Environmental Justice, Exhibit, SF CA"Mapping Environmental (In) Justice" is Art Forces' ongoing investigation into the global dynamics of precarity, societal instability and violence, environmental destruction and creativity. "Resurfacing" is a curation of this work. R E S U R F A C I N G Art. Activism. Mapping Environmental Justice. Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts January 15 -February 21, 2014 Between earth and earth's atmosphere, the amount of water remains constant; there is never a drop more, never a drop less. This is a story of circular infinity, of a planet birthing itself. ~ Linda Hogan, Chickasaw We live within multiple layers that are hidden from view; layers of history, stories, cultural movements and geography. Using the stories, poetics and politics of water, “Resurfacing” interrogates global environmental systems and the ways in which they are culturally and socially produced, supported, resisted and transformed. “Resurfacing” is envisioned as an inter-disciplinary interactive exhibit, project-space and conference. “Resurfacing” maps parallels and connections between seemingly distant locations and issues; and aims to create and support relationships and production that will develop beyond the length of the exhibit.
Edward Said Mural, SF State U, SF CASan Francisco State University 2007 Edward Said was a Palestinian Arab-American academic, educator, writer, philosopher, thinker, scholar, civil and human rights activist. His writing is an inspiration for Arab Americans. His activism for human rights, justice, and a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is also an inspiration to millions of people around the world. He was one of the greatest thinkers and scholars of America in the 20th century because he broke down the stereotypes of “Orientals” that have been perpetuated for hundreds of years. Said is wearing a Palestinian headdress or scarf (Kuffiyya, or Hatta), which is a cultural garment that has come to symbolize the struggle in maintaining and preserving Palestinian identity.
Rachel Corrie Youth Ctr, Rafah, Gaza StripRafah, Gaza 2005 In the summer of 2005, Break the Silence in Gaza was Susan Greene, Sara Kershner and John Halaka. With the support of the Rachel Corrie Foundation, MECA and Gaza City Mental Health Program, BTS traveled to the town of Rafah to paint a community mural that would honor Rachel Corrie and the cause for which she lost her life. In 2003 Rachel was working in Rafah with the International Solidarity Movement, www.palsolidarity.org, and was run over by an Israeli driven bulldozer as she tried to prevent the demolition of the home of a Palestinian pharmacist and his family.
Popular Arts Center, El Bireh, PalestineEl Bireh, Palestine 1989 BTS’ first community mural in Palestine is in the Popular Arts Center in El Bireh, Palestine. Painted in collaboration with members of Al Funoon. BTS members lived under military occupation with a family in a refugee camp. This two-story mural hugs a flight of stairs and celebrates Palestinian culture and solidarity.
Edward Said Conservatory, Bir'Ziet, PalestineTown of Bir’Zeit, West Bank, Palesitne
Sons of the Sun, Ramallah, PalestineQuadra Refugee Camp, Ramallah 1989 Painted by Eric Drooker and Susan Greene, with community of Qadura refugee camp. The K. family in Qadura refugee camp, where BTS first stayed in 1989, asked if we would paint a mural that would commemorate the people from thecamp who had been killed in the first and second Intifadas or uprisings. (Intifada is an Arabic word meaning to ‘shake off’) The word “martyr” is defined by anyone who is killed due to the occupation. Therefore, for example, a woman who dies in childbirth because the Israeli army will not allow her to pass to the hospital is considered martyr, as would someone killed by a stray bullet, etc. In this case all of the martyrs of the camp were unarmed when they were killed in situations including: demonstrations, detention, and an ‘accident’ where one youngster slipped off a building being chased by Israeli soldiers.
Bi'lin, West Bank, PalestineJune 2, 2008 Since 2005, the people of Bil’in have been leading protests against the construction of the Wall in their village, with participation from Israeli and international activists. The construction of the Wall has resulted in the de-facto annexation of 2,400 dunums of land (600 acres) - over 50% of the land belonging to the village facilitating massive Israeli settlement expansion east of the Green Line. The 3rd Annual International Conference on the Joint Popular Struggle. The image chosen for the Conference is a cartoon by Palestinian cartoonist Naser Al Jafari that appeared in Al Quds newspaper after an action in which the people of Bil’in chained themselves to the olive trees, that were slated to be uprooted (for a video of this action click here). It shows the tree and protestor in an embrace.
D'heisheh Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, PalestineD’heisheh Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, West Bank 2001 A four-story mural produced in collaboration with the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), in the Ibdaa Cultural Center in Dheisheh Refugee Camp in Bethlehem. The mural hugs four flights of stairs and tells a history of Palestine, one era per floor, ending with hopes and dreams for the future. The Ibdaa Cultural Center is a grassroots community-based project in the West Bank‘sPalestinian Dheisheh refugee camp. The name, “Ibdaa,” (ابداع) is translated from Arabic as “creation” or “creative ability” – “To Make Something Out of Nothing.” Since being founded in 1994, Ibdaa Cultural Center, with long-time partner the Middle East Children’s Alliance, has served more than 1,200 children and youth annually and provides employment and income for more than 70 families in the refugee camp.
Remember the Orange Trees, Beit Hanoun, GazaBeit Hanoun, Gaza 2004 Mural designed and painted by and with the staff of the Tagrheed Cutltural Center for Youth. Beit Hanoun had been under total curfew for a month and under siege for much longer. The Israeli army had destroyed thousands of acres of orange groves. The director of the center said he wanted the children to remember what the orange trees looked like. Team members: Susan Greene and Eric Drooker.
Design & Consultation
Writing & Research
Design & ConsultationArt Forces consulted with a collective of 11 families called “Mothers and Families United for Our Daughters' to create a community mural project. The project aims to raise awareness and honor the disappeared women of Ciudad Juarez. The families came together in 2008 to search for their disappeared daughters.
Writing & ResearchPalestinian American Research Center, Research Report: Trauma, Resilience and Creativity FINAL PARC Report Mourning And Action, Commemorative Murals in Shatila Refugee Camp by Susan Greene in The Ethics of Representation in Literature, Art, and Journalism Transnational Responses to the Siege of Beirut, Edited by Caroline Rooney,Rita Sakr, Routledge Up Against the Wall by Susan Greene
Photo GalleriesPhoto collections from many of our projects and the people who helped create them.