Can skateboarding and street art become instruments of peace between Arab and Israeli youth? That’s the mission of Euijin and Nathan Gray, local artists and founders of a new nonprofit group, The Bedouins, which will exhibit “Yallah! Artivism for Peace” throughout September at Thump Coffee in downtown Bend.
“‘Yallah! Artivism for Peace’ validates art as a vehicle for creative expression with a positive purpose,” explains Nathan Gray. Building off a previous project between skaters from Israel, Jordan, and Palestine, The Bedouins was founded in 2009 by the Grays to “develop creative projects that inspire humanity.”
For the Grays, skating art is about making connections through a common interest. Having grown up in Saudi Arabia, Nathan offers that “focusing on human experiences across divides holds potential where politics fails.”
Nathan believes that “skateboarding in its essence is about abolishing rules, flipping the script, and transforming something wasted and desolate like islands of concrete or road barriers into something positive. In this vein, skating is about transforming entrenched prejudices and misunderstandings.”
“Yallah! Artivism for Peace” is the first of a series of events meant to raise money to bring the Arab and Israeli skaters to the United States for a national tour, intended to share alternative perspectives of the Middle East using a grassroots approach. Read more at www.theBedouins.org.