Friday, November 7, 2008

Palestinian rhythms of resistance

By Ahmed Habib in Toronto

"Jackie Reem Salloum, a film director and activist, has been one of the key players in the movement to increase global interest in Palestinian art.

Born to Palestinian and Syrian parents in Dearborn, Michigan, her artwork was influenced by her experiences as a young woman in the Arab Diaspora.

During her late teens, she studied at the renowned Steinhardt art school at New York University, where she learned to reinterpret traditional American cultural symbols like gum ball machines to include references to revolutionary figures like Musa Kazim Pasha al-Husseini, a mayor of Jerusalem who was ousted in the 1920s for his opposition to British pro-Jewish policies.

In 2005, Salloum presented Planet of the Arabs, a nine-minute film about how Arabs are portrayed in the media, at the Sundance Film Festival.

However, Salloum would not find critical acclaim until her latest film, Slingshot Hip Hop, which was recently shown at the Toronto Palestine Film Festival.

In the 80-minute documentary, Salloum profiles the lives and art of Palestinian hip-hop artists living under Israeli occupation. Groups like DAM from the impoverished ghettoes of Lyd within Israel and P.R. from Gaza infuse energy into cultural resistance.

Al Jazeera recently caught up with Salloum in Toronto where she discussed her art and film and some of the obstacles she has encountered over the years....."

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