Art, the Law, and Dareen Tatour

Palestinian poet and artist Dareen Tatour‘s next court date — appealing her “incitement” conviction for poetry and a facebook post — has been set for December 25 in the district court in Nazareth:

But as she awaits her court date, she continues to make art.

Over the weekend, her photo exhibition “I, Prisoner No. 9022438” opened at the Arabic-Hebrew ‎Saraya ‎Theater in ‎Jaffa.‎ According to Israel Hayom, right-wing Culture Minister Miri Regev had already denounced the exhibit before it opened and suggested the theatre should be stripped of its funding.

The photos depict Tatour’s life under house arrest. Promotional materials from the show say that, during her house arrest, “Tatour turned her own room at her family home, which became her official prison cell, into a small studio. By minimalist means she documented the reality of this imprisonment. A white Bristol sheet served as a reflector, a cheap office lamp the only lighting, and pieces of white and black cloth as background. At her disposal was a space two-square meters wide, the width of her solitary confinement cell in jail.”

Tatour also has a show — “I, Dareen Tatour” — co-written with theatre artist Einat Weizman, set to appear in January and February at the Tmuna Theater in Tel Aviv.

According to organizers, “Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian, poet, political prisoner – embodies the multiplicity of struggles involved in our colonial reality. Her voice rises clearly and bravely and unites its double struggle: against Israeli control of the Palestinian people and its oppression as a woman within her society. Ostensibly, this struggle is but one, complex and inseparable struggle.”

The play, which has already been staged, has also not escaped Regev’s attention. Tatour wrote in Mondoweiss:

We were considering our joint artwork and revising the script of the play that we wrote together and that was recently performed at the Tmu-na Theater; we laughed, we cried, we got happy and we got sad at the memories of everything we went through during the period following the premier of our joint play “I, Dareen Tatour,” which also did not escape Miri Regev’s incitement to ban and censor, and for the Tmu-na Theatre to be penalized for showing, and still is showing, the play.

A vote on the “loyalty in culture” bill has since been postponed.

Also read: Dareen Tatour in conversation with Einat Weizman: the role of art and intellectual diversity against the ‘loyalty in culture’ bill