Social change through Art 

The SAZF,SA Friends of Israel and the SAJBD have been fortunate to be involved in the rejuvenation and beautification of walls around the city of Johannesburg. It’s all part of a joint-project between SAFI and the Artist4Israel team, who are in South Africa to assist in this colourful project and help people understand what Israel is all about using street art as their medium. Artists4Israel brings art, healing and protection to communities and people ravaged by war and social impoverishment and have been particularly active in areas such as Sderot (Israel) where communities have been traumatised by war and bombings sent across by Hamas. 

The SAJBD worked closely with the SAZF with regard to IAW. The SAJBD was extensively involved in IAW-related activities, particularly in the media sphere. It was able to arrange extensive publicity for Craig Dershowitz of Artists 4 Israel, including setting up numerous interviews in the broadcast and print media. Board staff regularly responded to opinion pieces promoting IAW with articles refuting the baseless Israel-Apartheid equation.  David Saks wrote opinion pieces that appeared in the Mail & Guardian, Sunday Independent, Star, Pretoria News and Mercury.  Wendy Kahn was interviewed by SAFM and SABC QuestionTime.

The mission of Artists4Israel is to create social change and uplift all people, regardless of race, religion, gender or national origin. Through their work, they have transformed objects and minds in needy communities, both in Israel and around the world. They have also been involved in repairing the physical and metaphorical scars of conflict along with many other arts, culture and social service projects that seek to overcome the struggles of communities living in crisis. 

During their stay with us, the Artists4Israel team visited the amazing CityKidz school campus, where they engaged with students in art therapy workshops. CityKidz was created as a social initiative by Afhco Holdings and opened in January 2008. Its mission is to address the poor state of education facilities for inner-city children. Through its social responsibility projects, which are aimed at the upliftment of residents and workers of the inner city, Afhco decided to raise the standard of education for young children by providing excellent training in a pleasant and open environment. 

At CityKidz, the artists were welcomed and entertained by the school’s beautiful choir and incredible dancers. The artists then got to work and the school was transformed into a colourful canvas of graffiti art. 

A few blocks away, the team also painted a building in the inner city – filling the empty canvas of a blank wall with the beautiful image of a proud woman’s face. 

SA Friends of Israel is privileged to have experienced this healing through art and we are excited to hear the positive feedback from those are enjoying the revitalised school campus and other spaces which have now become public art pieces. 

The group also spent some time on WITS and TUKS campus, spraying t-shirts and engaging students about Israel.

This week, the artists will be in Cape Town as part of their national tour of South Africa.

Art is our one true global language. It knows no nation, it favours no race, and it acknowledges no class. It speaks to our need to reveal, heal, and transform. It transcends our ordinary lives and lets us imagine what is possible when we work together. It was a privilege for the SAZF to host them.