An exhibition of drawings and paintings created by Palestinian children scheduled to open Sept 24 at Oakland's Museum of Children's Art has been canceled.
The show, which was to run until Nov. 13, included harrowing images of bloodshed and loss during the Israeli bombing of Gaza, known as Operation Cast Lead, which began in 2008. In one drawing, a little girl with a bandage on her head stares out from behind prison bars. In another, tanks roll through a burning town as women wail and children weep.
These and other artwork created by Palestinian children ages 6-14 were to have been included in "A Child's View of Gaza," which was to open with a day of cartooning workshops and poetry readings.
Hilmon Sorey, chairman of MOCHA's board of directors wrote in a statement that while the museum supports art that fosters "insight and understanding," an exhibit of art about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was "not appropriate for an open gallery accessible by all children."
The museum has previously shown art created by children during conflict, including images depicting the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
And it hasn't shied away from exploring violence in Oakland. But Sorey said in an interview that the board felt the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is too divisive an issue.
"This wasn't something we felt as a board that the organization could responsibly exhibit," he said. The museum has no guidelines or policy on what it deems
appropriate for exhibition. Almost all artwork shown at MOCHA is by children.
Sorey also said that some community members had raised concerns about the exhibit but would not elaborate further.
The decision to cancel the show, reached at a museum board meeting just two weeks before the exhibition's opening, has left organizers stunned.
"I was sad. Shocked," said Susan Johnson when she learned the exhibit had been shelved. more