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(ANS – Bethlehem) – During the next few weeks of July the Salesian Artistic Centre in Bethlehem will be hosting three Sardinian artists who with the Palestinian artists from the school will be running a workshop. It will be part of a project financed by the Region of Sardinia which also allows for the journey of three Palestinian students to Italy.
Then during August for the first time the Palestinians will be able to leave the area of the Israeli barrier to visit the handicraft shops in Sardinia. “This exchange programme is already revealing the many similarities between Sardinia and Palestine and enabling the youngsters from the Bethlehem school to broaden their artistic and geographical horizons” says Elisa Nucci, from the VIS (International Voluntary Service for Development).
From it foundation in 2005 the Salesian Artistic Centre in Bethlehem has been struggling to preserve traditional Palestinian handicrafts, an important cultural heritage which bears witness to the centuries of shared history between Europe and the Middle East, but which is in danger of disappearing nowadays. The guiding principle of the artistic school in Bethlehem is that the only way to keep a tradition alive is to renew it. For this reason the youngsters at the Centre are constantly being encouraged to creativity and to seeking new solutions.
Among its students the artistic centre gives special attention to refugees, to the deaf, to former political prisoners and to girls victims of domestic violence. For them and for the other youngsters art is a form of personal development and self discovery out into the open. This time for some of them the journey will take them beyond their own shores.