Palestinian group makes a return visit

The Shatila Arts Project team who will be coming to North Tyneside this weekend.
The Shatila Arts Project team who will be coming to North Tyneside this weekend.
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TEN Palestinian youngsters and three of their teachers arrive in North Tyneside on Sunday for the next chapter in the Shatila Arts Project.

During their ten day stay in the borough, the Palestinians will be working with street artists Faye Oliver and Anthony Downie to create a body of artwork which will be displayed in Tynemouth Station.

They will also be performing their traditional Palestinian dance – the ‘dabke’ – at various North Tyneside locations.

The youngsters, all from Shatila Palestinian Refugee Camp in Beirut will be working first on their artistic design in the empty catalogue shop premises at Park View shopping centre, Whitley Bay, then moving for the painting itself to Linskill Centre in North Shields.

The work, which should represent a fusion of Western and Palestinian influences, will be mounted on a Tynemouth Station wall at a special ceremony on to take place on Tuesday, August 7.

This is the third group of Palestinian youngsters to travel the 3,000 miles from Beirut to North Tyneside for an arts project.

The previous two groups performed a play specially written for them by Peter Mortimer, and next year, in conjunction with The Sage Gateshead, the plan is to form a Shatila Choir which will perform both in the UK and the Lebanon.

While they are here this group of Palestinians will also be taken to see Alnwick Gardens, be entertained by magician Dillinger, have a special Arab subtitles film laid on by Whitley Bay Film Festival, and have tickets for the Olympic football match at St James’ Park between Brazil and New Zealand.

They will also be contributing to the special Graffiti Wall at The Sage, Gateshead.

The Shatila Project has been in existence since 2008 when Peter Mortimer lived two months on the refugee camp and wrote a book based on his experiences.

Meanwhile a Shatila Charity Art Auction held at the Balman Gallery Corbridge last Sunday raised more than £2,000.

Around 40 of the region’s leading painters, photographer and sculptors donated work.