In a story in the Times of Israel, a Palestinian-American businessman, Faisal Saleh, has funded and managed the founding of a museum dedicated to Palestinian art, the first in the USA.
It is located in the small New England town of Woodbridge in Connecticut, about 130 kilometres north of New York City, far from the tourist circuits and big-city crowds.
The purpose of the museum is for Palestinian artists to show – and Americans to discover – that the Palestinian community is very human and cultured, with a rich artistic heritage. Called the Palestine Museum US, it has initially opened for just one day a week (Sundays) and is staffed by volunteers. Entry is free of charge. It holds more than 70 works of art, 100 photographs, costumes, installations and collections of embroidery.
Given that images of Palestinians that reach the rest of the world are nearly always characterised by suffering and violence, the museum offers the chance for people to see the other side of the Palestinian community, “not as victims, as the press is prone to present us”, says artist Samia Halaby, whose work is included in the collection.
Faisal Saleh’s hope is that other investors will join the project and that a larger version of the museum will be able to be transposed to either New York or Washington, D.C.