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I'll Betray My Country

Ash Marinaccio | Ramallah, Palestine

International awards line the shelves of the ASHTAR Theatre office in Ramallah, Palestine. Established in 1991, the ASHTAR Theatre is the first youth theatre in the Palestinian West Bank. One of ASHTAR’s flagship initiatives is the 4-year theatre education program which culminates in the students performing in and helping to produce the ASHTAR International Youth Theatre Festival.

I’ll Betray My Country is an ongoing photography project about theatre makers in conflict zones. This work aims to document the artistic work created in rehearsal rooms and workshops and the tensions that artists face from outside forces and their communities. Additionally, this work adds a new perspective on the impact of the performing arts on communities locally and globally and lead to action in supporting artists making changes in their communities.

This exhibit features ASHTAR Theatre in Ramallah, Palestine. ASHTAR is the oldest youth theatre in the West Bank. One of ASHTAR's paramount programs is the ASHTAR International Youth Theatre Festival which brings young people from across the world together to participate in collaborative theatre-making and performances. 

Recently, Palestinian artists and culture makers have witnessed vicious attacks aiming at limiting and silencing the role of art in society. The Israeli occupation has arrested artists and activists. International funders and donors have been forcing new policies of conditional funding on Palestinian cultural institutes. And locally, culture and art have been overlooked and under-supported, limiting the expressive space for artists to grow and create.

Support for this project provided by the Puffin Foundation

Additional support for this project was provided by CUNY Graduate Center's DSRG Grant and Docbloc 

To learn more about ASHTAR Theatre and support their work visit their website at ashtar-theatre.org

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