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Students present Palestinian mural

November 14, 2007

The Palestinian Cultural Mural on the Cesar Chavez Student Center celebrates Palestinian culture and the life of scholar Edward SaidStudents, scholars and activists gathered at SF State on Nov. 2 to celebrate a new mural on the walls of the Cesar Chavez Student Center that celebrates Palestinian culture and the life of Palestinian American scholar Edward Said. The mural, believed to be the first of its kind at an American university, was introduced by the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) during a day filled with dancing, poetry and speeches.

Lead artists Fayeq Oweis and Susan Greene led a team of students in painting the mural, which is permanently displayed on the North plaza outside the Cesar Chavez Student Center. It joins murals dedicated to Pan-Asian and Filipino history and culture, as well as activists Cesar E. Chavez and Malcolm X.

The new mural depicts aspects of Said's life and work, including his books and skylines of Jerusalem and New York, where Said taught at Columbia University. Other elements represent Palestinian culture: student folk dancing, an olive tree and a pair of doves formed by the Arabic word "salaam" meaning peace.

The mural project was more than two years in the making, marked at times by controversy over some symbols and messages proposed. The Student Center Governing Board, its Arts Committee and GUPS responded to input from a range of on- and off-campus community members, and ultimately proposed a project that met President Robert A. Corrigan's request for both a revised mural policy and a specific mural rendition that "reflect the shared values of our campus community."

"The Palestinian Cultural Mural stands for many things to many people," President Corrigan stated, "but to me it is most symbolic of this University's ability, as a community, to conduct healthy debates that lead to peaceful and respectful solutions. Our students, faculty and staff have demonstrated once again that a diversity of opinions and perspectives can coexist on this exceptional campus."

View a larger version of the mural here.

-- Michael Bruntz


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Last modified November 14, 2007 by University Communications