Article 5

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Joanna Barakat

The following statement by the craftivist includes contestable views about the status of Israel as a nation recognised by the United Nations and about freedom in Israel. It does not constitute comment by the Museum of Australian Democracy.

We publish it as part of our commitment, through this exhibition, to encourage conversation about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

About my work

As a Palestinian whose family is forced to live outside our native land, it seems to me that the violation of Article 5 is a succinct summation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine since 1948. With over five million refugees displaced to this day, Palestinians face daily humiliation, dehumanisation, discrimination and abuse. There are restrictions on movement of people and goods due to checkpoints and the separation wall, demolition of homes and businesses, detention of children, and the unlawful arrests and imprisonment of civilians without charges or a fair trial. Israel is notorious for the inhumane conditions of their prisons, the extreme abuse of the prisoners and the torture methods used to extract information.

Freedoms of religion, press or speech are severely restricted and this has led to graffiti emerging as a key form of communication. In my piece, Article 5 is stencilled on the wall like graffiti and is surrounded by Palestinian embroidery motifs of stars, cypress trees and ‘the walls of Jerusalem’.

- Joanna Barakat

Joanna Barakat

About me

Through various media and techniques, Joanna Barakat’s work is predominantly portraits that explore how we interpret and construct our identity. Interested in alternative forms of communication, she brings together elements of painting, photography, Palestinian embroidery and street art to challenge and question collective ideas and stereotypes using a reimagined contemporary Palestinian aesthetic.  She moved to Los Angeles from Jerusalem when she was a year old, where she was raised until she moved to London for university. Her final project at Central Saint Martins, a film about the physical and psychological borders faced by the Palestinians living in Palestine, was played in London’s Institute of Contemporary Art. She also wrote her MA dissertation about Palestinian street art while at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She is now living in Abu Dhabi where she has co-founded a community that focuses on teaching, promoting and preserving Palestinian embroidery.

Other blocks about Article 5