Palestinian artist Rehab Nazzal talks to crowd about controversial exhibit, artistic freedom

Ottawa Citizen

A packed room at St. Brigid’s Centre for the Arts was politically charged Sunday as Palestinian Canadian artist Rehab Nazzal spoke about her controversial city hall art exhibit.

More people than there were chairs crowded in to listen to a Q&A with Nazzal, presented by the City of Ottawa Public Art Program and moderated by Diana Nemiroff, the former director of the Carleton University Art Gallery.

The art exhibit, titled “Invisible,” includes images of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, among other art pieces that portray the West Bank and Gaza.

It garnered international attention last week when Israel’s ambassador to Canada, Rafael Barak, publicly condemned the exhibit.

Barak said the exhibit glorifies terrorism and asked Mayor Jim Watson to have it prematurely removed from the Karsh-Masson Art Gallery, located in Ottawa City Hall.

This condemnation provoked a similarly strong-worded response from the Palestinian General Delegation in Ottawa, which accused the ambassador of censorship and an…

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