The small Palestinian village of Al-Aqaba, home to 300 inhabitants, lies atop a rocky ridge in northern West Bank. Its large, striking minaret punctures an otherwise earth-bound, rugged geography, and the Jordan Valley fans out to the east like a desert mirage. Waves of brown, orange, and red blur into one another—a striking view from the three-tiered scaffolding that precariously hugged the wall of the village’s most prominent building in the spring of 2015. Up and down the rickety structure for the better part of a week, Philadelphia-based artist Lily Yeh gave most of her attention to the aqua-colored expanse in front of her and the task of painting a mural on the twenty-five-foot wall.

Yeh is no stranger to this process, frequently choosing walls as her canvas. Her brightly painted murals enliven otherwise bleak environs all over the globe today. Under the auspices...

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