Eid Hathaleen: The Occupation of Art
Born and raised in the South Hebron Hills, Eid Hathaleen’s life has been impacted by the violence of an unrelenting Israeli military occupation and a program of colonization. His family was driven off their ancestral in al-Arad, just south of what is now the Green Line. As Bedouins, living a nomadic lifestyle, they were forced to give up parts of their culture when they purchased land from the community of Yatta in the 1960’s and created the village of Um al-Khair.
His life was forever changed when the Israeli state allowed for the establishment of the Carmel settlement in the 1980’s. The colonization of the neighboring lands ushered in a new era of violence, as home demolitions and their impacts in his community would define the last two decades. According to UN data, since 2007 there have been some 20 incidents of home demolitions, displacing over 150 people. Currently, in Um al-Khair, all but two homes have demolition orders.
A self-taught artist, Eid has been transforming the violence around him into pieces of inspiring art. “Since the age of 12, I have been building miniature-sized jeeps, bulldozers, and helicopters from plastic, iron, and other scraps that I find in my village,” explained Eid. “While in real life, these vehicles represent the oppressive Israeli occupation, in my work, I render them back into a constructive element that can be appreciated again for their positive use.”