Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Penn State Kills Jewish Art Show

Penn State has cancelled a student-organized art exhibition commemorating the Israel-Palestinian conflict, indicating the exhibit violated the school’s nondiscrimination, harassment and hate policy.

Josh Stulman, a senior in painting and anthropology was told that his exhibit, “Portraits of Terror” was cancelled only 3 days before its opening.  Charles Garoian, professor and director of the School of Visual Arts, said the exhibit didn’t mesh with the university’s mission.  The school has a 0-tolerance policy towards hate.

The exhibit, Stulman said, which is based mainly on the conflict in Palestinian territories, raises questions concerning the destruction of Jewish religious shrines, anti-Semitic propaganda and cartoons in Palestinian newspapers, the disregard for rules of engagement and treatment of prisoners, and the indoctrination of youth into terrorist acts.

Josh Stilman, pictured below with one of his paintings, obviously dedicated a great deal of time and effort to express his views through his art. And one look at the painting will tell you the issues he paints about are important to him.  Do we really want to suppress his creative voice? What society do we build if we mute any voice that says something controversial?

I first read about this issue on the Jewlicious, and she points out that Penn State’s Hillel is trying to help him find a new venue for the show. Very good news!  Remember, democracy is advanced citizenship, and a democracy is only as strong as its ability to allow all voices to be heard. Let’s hope Penn State doesn’t lose site of this fact.

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Posted by Scottage at 2:24 AM / | |