Arts and Culture

Art and culture are powerful mediums for affecting hearts and minds, and promoting the basic human values that transcend social and psychological boundaries.  Artistic activities can serve as an effective tool for replacing old patterns of mistrust and prejudice with a new language of universal humanism that connects individuals and groups.

Givat Haviva implements a variety of projects that link the creative forces of divergent communities in order to generate dialogue, cooperation and reconciliation among all age groups. Programs engage children, youth and adults through mediums such as photography, sculpture, ceramics, film and videography.


Photography Program: Through Others' Eyes

Photograph from the 2014 Through Others' Eyes Group
Through Others' Eyes is a dialogue and community-building project of Givat Haviva's Art Center, and has been in operation for 13 years.  The Program addresses the need for open channels of communication between Israeli Arab and Jewish youth (ages 16-17) who rarely, if ever, have an opportunity to meet one another.  Through Others' Eyes uses photography as the lens to explore questions of identity and coexistence, and through the process of the project, coalesce the youth from bi-national to a uni-national group.

A group of about twenty teens from Arab and Jewish towns in the Wadi Ara region meet once a week a Givat Haviva over a 10-month period.  Participants gain a personal understanding of their peers by visiting their homes and communities, meeting their families and photographing them.  During the sessions, the students are able to truly know and relate to one another through engagement in photography projects under the guidance of an Arab and a Jewish facilitator who are both professional photographers.  The art and dialogue components are organized around themes that are relevant to the lives of the youth such as family, culture, religious celebrations, and self and group identity.  Although these young people come from diverse and different backgrounds, they are able to shared their personal and cultural histories and narratives. The process culminates with a summer trip to New York for three weeks, where they attend a Peace Camp in the Catskill Mountains and visit New York City to display exhibitions of their work and discuss their experiences.

Check out the Photographs from the 2015 Through Others' Eyes Group here!

Adults: This project also operates for Jewish and Arab adults, tailored to meet specific needs of adult groups and designed with a focus on bringing together families and wider communities.

Impact: Arab and Jewish Youth Testimonies

"We discovered that even though we are so different, we are somehow still all the same... I believe that if we are able to live one with the other, hands held together and helping one another with love and peace, then that will be the first step, leading to other huge steps that will reach out to a whole new bright future ahead of us. Thank you for the opportunity to make this real.  Being here means having the chance to change the world." -- Arab Youth Participant

"All my life I never went near Jews, and when I joined this project is was like my whole life changed.  I have become very close friends with Jewish participants and I hope we will remain friends even after the project." -- Mohammed 

"I think of the Arab members of the group as my friends, which is something that before I joined the project I never thought could happen -- not because I didn't want it but because I never had the opportunity before." -- Maya

Videography: Filming Through Others' Eyes

The Filming Through Others' Eyes Project uses the video camera as a tool to explore identity and promote mutual understanding between youth across social divides. Participants work together to jointly produce video clips and documentaries that can be shown to wider audiences across the country.

Peace Gallery

Peace Gallery at the Givat Haviva Institute in Israel
Givat Haviva provides a public space to exhibit artwork focusing on themes related to our mission of building a peaceful, inclusive Shared Society.  The Gallery also raises awareness regarding pressing issues on Israel's social agenda.  The Peace Gallery hosts exhibits by artists from all sectors of Israeli society, as well as collaborative exhibits of artists from opposite sides of social divides. Thousands of local and international guests have visited the gallery, stimulating discussion and dialogue around the themes presented.

Together for the Environment: Creativity, Experience, Dialogue

Together for the Environment brings Arab and Jewish school children in grades five and six for a series of encounters that combine fun with an innovative learning experience on environmental awareness.  The young participants work with recyclables materials to create useful and aesthetic artistic items, while indirectly acquiring a new set of tools for dialogue. The program is implemented in cooperation with elementary schools in Jewish and Arab communities, garnering the involvement and support of educators who are encouraged to sustain the cross-community relationship through follow-up activities.