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Indybay Feature
Wed Sep 28 2011 (Updated 09/29/11)
Children's Artwork from Gaza Censored at Museum of Children's Art in Oakland
Wed Sep 28 2011 (Updated 09/29/11)
MECA Opens "A Child's View From Gaza" Exhibit on Schedule at Alternate Oakland Venue
On September 8th, 2011, an art exhibit of children's drawings was banned by the Museum of Children's Art in Oakland (MOCHA). Much of the artwork was drawn by children participating in a "Let the Children Play And Heal" project. The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) organized "Let the Children Play and Heal" to give tens of thousands of children and youth in Gaza opportunities to express themselves though art, dance, music, story-telling, theater and puppetry; to get support from the larger community; and to have fun and just be children. It was developed to address the needs of traumatized children after the 2008/2009 Israeli assault on Gaza. Zionist organizations such as the Jewish Community Relations Council and Jewish Federation are suspected of having intimidated MOCHA into canceling the show, in order to deny an audience for the perspectives of Palestinians, despite the fact that MECA had been working with the museum for months planning the local exhibit. On September 23rd, a demonstration was held in front of MOCHA to protest the censorship.

MOCHA held firm that they would not allow the exhibit. MECA announced that the exhibit would open on the originally scheduled date anyway, outside rather than inside of MOCHA. What MECA kept under wraps until opening day was that they had secured an alternate venue for the exhibit just around the corner from MOCHA. As the exhibit was set to open on September 24th, MECA and supporters first gathered in the courtyard outside of the MOCHA building, displaying reproductions of the Gazan children's artwork. Less than half an hour later, an announcement was made about the new venue and the Brass Liberation Orchestra led supporters out of the courtyard, down the sidewalk, and around the corner to the new home for the exhibit. Hundreds of people attended the opening over the course of the next few hours. The exhibit is set to show at 917 Washington Street in Oakland through November 30th.

September 23rd Censorship Protest: videophotoVideo & Photos | photoPhotos
September 24th Exhibit Opening: videophotoVideo & Photos
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