Santa’s Ghetto is probably the world’s most low-concept art event.
Every year we assemble a loose collection of the great unwashed to hawk their artistic wares on the high street amongst the mindless sham and drudgery of the Christmas season. This year we’ve moved out of Oxford Street into a former chicken shop on Manger Square in Bethlehem opposite the Church of the Nativity (where Santa Claus was actually born).
This puts us one mile behind the security wall in a part of the world ravaged by conflict, poverty and dust. Just the place, you’d think, that’s desperate to check out the latest five-color decked edge screen prints coming out of East London.
You can watch the whole sorry thing unravel on-line but you’re particularly welcome to come out and visit in person (you’re probably far less likely to get randomly stabbed on the way home than you were last year).
And the point is here:
Bethlehem is one of the most contentious places on earth.
Perched at the edge of the Judaen desert at the intersection of Europe, Asia and Africa in the state of Palestine it was governed by the British following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. After World War II the United Nations voted to partition the region into two states – one Jewish, one Arab and there’s been fighting ever since.
It’s obviously not the job of a loose collection of idiot doodlers to tell you what’s right or wrong about this situation, so you’re advised to do further reading yourself (this month’s National Geographic has an excellent article all about Bethlehem).
We would like to make it very clear Santa’s Ghetto is not allied to ANY race, creed, religion, political organization or lobby group. As an organization the only thing we’ll say on behalf of our artists is that we don’t speak on behalf of our artists. This show simply offers the ink-stained hand of friendship to ordinary people in an extraordinary situation.
Every shekel made in the store will be used on local projects for children and young people. Not one cent will go to any political groups, governmental institutions or, in fact, any grown-ups at all.
The artists being a part of this project (as of December 2007, new artists are arriving all the time): 3D, Abdul Rohman Elmzyen, Adam Koukoudakis, Aiko, Ayed Arafah, Banksy, Bast, Ben Turnbull, Blu, Conor Harrington, Eine, Erica il Cane, Faile, Gee Vaucher, James Cauty, Jonathan Yeo, Karim Dabbah, Kelsey Brookes, Lucy McLauchlan, Mark Jenkins, Antony Micallef, Paul Insect, Sir Peter Blake, Peter Kennard, Kat Phillips, Ron English, Sam 3, Sickboy, Souleiman Mansour, Swoon, Yousef Katalo.
You can see their 2007 works in our graffiti gallery called Santa’s Ghetto 2007.
PS: The site closes on December 25th, 2007. Forever.