Community Mural Project: Halisa Community Center in Haifa, Israel July 2012
The MEM Project partnered with the Halisa Community Center in Haifa, Israel to work with kids from the arab neighborhood to design and paint a community mural in their local school. The themes of the mural were Mifgash (encounter/meeting place) and what makes the kids proud of their neighborhood. Participants were asked to draw things about their neighborhood that they would want to share with a newcomer. In a low income neighborhood with many challenges, the youth of Halisa shared their drawings of their dreams for success and peace, and the strength of the community manifested in the laughter of the children. Components of each child's drawing were incorporated in the final design.
The mural was inspired by a neighborhood song that speaks to the impact of the smiling children. The mural reads like arabic (from right to left) with the gray buildings of Halisa evoking a rainbow of color. Near the buildings there is a butterfly trapped within a tree, wanting to fly free. The rainbow rises to music notes as the left side showcases a group of smiling children singing their neighborhood song (written in arabic) and releasing the trapped butterfly. Peace signs fill the center of the flowers and shining stars above offer the children something to wish upon.
The transformation of the wall is obvious physically, with a hope for a positive transformation within the community collectively as well. The goal is for the mural to serve as a visual reminder to the children of the beauty that they are able to accomplish when they work together and focus on the inspiration of their song and laughter.
Many thanks to Noga Nevel from the JCRC in Boston and Nisreen Morqus from the Halisa Community Center in Haifa for connecting me with this community and making this project possible.
Watch a video of the local youth singing the neighborhood song that inspired the mural by clicking here. View a blog post by the Boston-Haifa Connection by clicking here.
Enjoy pics from this project in the slideshow below.