In 1987 Palestinian activists were developing alternative and autonomous structures that would separate them economically from the Israeli military occupation. In one such experimental project in Beit Sahour, residents hoped to produce dairy products as an alternative to the monopoly of the Israeli-made Tnuva. A few days after the start of production, the Israeli army invaded the farm, arrested the activists, and closed down the farm. The activists decided to smuggle the cows at night and hide them in their houses, backyards, and eventually in caves in the surrounding mountains. The Israeli army went on a massive, four-year hunt for the eighteen cows that represented autonomy for the Palestinians and a “threat to national security” for the Israelis.
Amer Shomali is a Palestinian artist and activist working in animation, illustration, and political cartoons. He holds a masters degree in animation from Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom. Shomali uses art to interact with the social and political Palestinian context. His Icon (2011) uses 3,500 tubes of lipstick to reproduce the famous photo of Leila Khaled holding an AK-47, a statement about the commercialization of icons of the 1970s and 1980s. His work has been exhibited in the Middle East and Europe. Shomali is the co-founder of ZAN Studio in Ramallah, Palestine, where he currently resides.