The Palestinian Art Court –Al Housh and the European Union opened the first solo exhibition by artist Mirna Bamieh titled “Afterwardeness” in Jerusalem. The exhibition featured a collection of art works and film screenings accumulated throughout 2012 and 2015 by Palestinian Artist Mirna Bamieh. The exhibition is part of the EU fundedprogram Alternative City, and Open Gallery an initiative by Al Hoash aimed at creating a dynamic and accommodating exhibition environment for the public in East Jerusalem.
Alia Rayyan, Director of Al Hoash, emphasized the important role cultural organizations such as Al Hoash are playing in the preservation and promotion of Palestinian art and culture in Jerusalem. She said: “the political situation is not improving, and life for Palestinians is getting harder, increasing the need for community development and economic growth. Through our work at Al Hoash we grasp on the crucial role of cultural and artistic activities in engaging communities and activating areas in East Jerusalem. We are dedicated towards preserving visual Palestinian heritage and cultivating the Palestinian identity, which needs to be more visible.”
Cultural activities in East Jerusalem have been halted due to the increase in tensions and lack of security in East Jerusalem, especially in the past months. Additionally East Jerusalem suffers from continuous fragmentation and alienated from its’ hinterland due to access restrictions and the construction of the separation wall by the Israeli government. To counteract fragmentation and revive cultural activity in East Jerusalem Al Hoash coordinated its efforts with other leading cultural organizations by hosting the exhibition during the EU funded Days of Cinema, a Film Festival held by Film Lab and hosted by Yabous Cultural Centre
“Our support to culture is part of our East Jerusalem programme. In the last few years, the EU has developed an increasing programme of support for East Jerusalem in an effort to improve living conditions and the resilience of Palestinians in the city“. Ms. Alessandra Viezzer, Head of EU Cooperation, said in her speech at the opening ceremony. “Our focus now covers a wide range of sectors including education, health services, legal aid, youth and women’s rights, culture and identity. We are providing almost 10 million Euros annually under this programme. This support will continue and culture will remain a crucial componentof this support.”
Artist Mirna Bamieh introduced her first solo exhibition andshared her inspiration for choosing the psychological term Afterwardsness. The termexplores the psychoanalytical term Nachträglichkeit, meaning a mode of belated understanding. It is when one experiences two distinct moments in time, separated by a delay or time lag, in which the first scene; although distressing, initially remains without consequence. Afterwardsnessis almost a post-ironical show on delayed traumatic reactions, in which the works take you in a disordered tour through political paradox. She stated: “Personally, I am very passionate about the subject of memory, especially for us as Palestinians. Everything is linked to memory and trauma. I attempt to simplify it and break it down for the audience in a light way, creating an experiencewhere this traumatic memory can be perceived from a different angel.”
Mirna’s work attempts to understand and contemplate the ever-shifting politics, while equally questioning notions of land and ambivalent territories and spaces.