It was a truly amazing evening with Israel director-author Shira Geffen, Palestinian author Rabai al-Madhoun, artist Martyn Stanton Harris, Jewish comedian Ivor Dembina and writer-editor Shaun Levin, who acted as moderator for a panel discussion. The event began with a slide show of powerful images by photographer David Lurie. Martyn then took the stage to share the impetus for his artwork (images of the exhibition below).
Director-author Shira Geffen next shared the motivations behind her most recent work, which led her on a secret trip to Gaza where she met the mother of a jihadist martyr. She related how moved she was when this mother embraced her warmly, in that one moment - stripped of ideologies and ethnicities - she was "just a daughter" and the woman who welcomed her into her home, "just a mother." The audience were treated to a short film by Shira called What About Me? on the absurdity of checkpoints.
Author Rabai al-Madhoun next read some excerpts from his most recent work The Lady of Tel Aviv (the English translation will be published next year). He spoke of being in exile for 38 years, and of being displaced from his homeland.
Comedian Ivor Dembina had the room in stitches when he performed extracts from his solo show 'This Is Not A Subject For Comedy.' Poking fun at his Jewish upbringing (especially those from Hendon!), Ivor's biting and sometimes irreverent humour touched on everything from Israeli politics to what Israel has come to symbolise to the Jewish diaspora.
Writer-editor Shaun Levin wrapped up the event with a panel discussion on what it means as an artist and writer to address conflict issues. This was followed by a lively and incisive Q&A session and book-signing with Shira, whose screenplay Jellyfish, has just been released.