As part of Qalandiya International, the Jerusalem Show proposes possible futures of Return from the Jerusalem perspective
The 8th edition of the Jerusalem Show “Before and After Origins” invites Palestinians to reimagine their actual Return from a Jerusalem perspective. Launching on 6 October 2016, the Show is part of the third edition of Qalandiya International, a collaborative contemporary art event connecting the Palestinian geographies through art and culture and reaching out to Palestinians living in the diaspora beyond historic Palestine.
The vision of over 30 Palestinian and international artists is transformed into artworks in a two-part exhibition organized by Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art in the old city of Jerusalem and in Shu’fat refugee camp, home to over 35 thousand Palestinian refugees, who are detached from east Jerusalem by the Israeli separation wall. The exhibition proposes a case study before and after the watershed year of 1948 which witnessed the expulsion of over 60% of the Palestinian population from their land and the destruction of more than 400 villages and towns.
Al-Ma’mal Director Jack Persekian asserts “in light of the fact that we’re approaching 70 years past the Nakba, while its effects are still looming over our life, and our destiny is unfortunately shaped by it, it is very important that we think about and imagine our actual return to that seminal moment of rupture and try to find a means of catharsis. And since Jerusalem is in the eye of the storm it’s very important to begin this process from the historic city and its refugee camp.”
Curator of the Show Vivian Zhirel, says “While 1948 may be considered the origin of Return, the category of ‘origins’ is itself questioned throughout the exhibition, contouring the relations of modernity, colonisation and territorial belonging. In reconsidering the nature of origins, the 8th Jerusalem Show seeks to prise open new dialogues and possible futures of Return.”
The exhibition at Al-Mamal, examines two significant bodies of Palestinian cultural heritage that are themselves unable to return. One is a 6th Century mosaic, removed from the Naqab desert after WWI and permanently cemented into the Australian War Memorial, reconsidered in the work of Australian artist Tom Nicholson. The other is the extensive amulets collection of physician, ethnographer and renowned late-Ottoman Jerusalemite Tawfiq Canaan, now in the care of the Birzeit University Museum (12.5 miles north of Jerusalem).
The notion of the exhibition, hosted at Shu’fat Youth Activities Centre, has been developed in dialogue between international artists, community leaders and local artists such as Jawad Al Malhi and Muhammad Mughrabi, in response to the Aboriginal Tent Embassy artist project of Richard Bell.
Participating artists come from Palestine, South Africa, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australia, Burma/Canada, Germany, Congo, and the Netherlands.
The Jerusalem Show is organized from 6-31 October by Al Ma’mal Foundation as part of Qalandiya International 2016 “This Sea is Mine”.
The Jerusalem Show was launched in 2008 by Al-Ma’mal, a non-profit organization, based in Jerusalem’s Old City, to present works, performances and interventions throughout the Old City of Jerusalem as an attempt to re-read and re-negotiate a city torn apart by conflict.