"Examining the concept of humanity in Jericho, Susanne Bosch — a German artist dividing her time between Belfast and Berlin — took a three-hour silent walk with 75 participants that brought them to a socialist agricultural project from the 1940s funded by the Arab Development Society. The project had a goal of establishing a self-sufficient Palestinian community that could survive without aid, debts and credit. While the ADS initiative, if largely defunct now, was an interesting one, the piece seems far removed from the original idea of a silent walk. Perhaps more interesting are the notes written by some of the participants in the walk, published on the artist’s website (www.susannebosch.de). From comments about the beautiful silence of the procession, to statements such as “Why was I created a Palestinian?”, the notes seem to indicate more about the humanity of Jericho than the investigation of the Arab Development Society. In the gallery, the artist explores the founding ideas behind the Arab Development Society. Her three-part installation features pages from a history book of the ADS, projections of video footage of the project, and a seating area with books and listening materials.”
"Palestinian artist Iyad Issa, exploring the idea of contemporaneity, organized a fleet of brightly-colored four-wheeled vehicles to take participants off-roading in Jericho. The cars visited desert terrain, refugee camps, housing developments built of steel, and the archaeological site of Hisham’s Palace, among other locations in the city. In the exhibition, a bright red jeep faces a wall. Visitors are allowed to enter the jeep and watch video footage of the excursions projected on the wall in front of it. The simulated tours were meant to explore the idea of Jericho as an oasis, surrounded by the existing conflict, but the sites that the jeeps visited allowed for speculation on some of the contradictions in this idea, and in the development of the city."
"An artist book that tells the story of her encounter with Mustafa, a young street vender in downtown Ramallah, who sells images culled from the Internet to the public. Over the last decade, Mustafa downloaded and sold the most popular political and entertainment images that have been in high demand by the Palestinian public. Harb comes in contact with Mustafa while she is researching the different kinds of images that circulate in the public sphere in Ramallah city. Upon her encounter with him, she tries to salvage what is left over from his unsold collection. Flipping through the fragile low-resolution photographs, she is overwhelmed by the diversity of the collection. In an attempt to identify the sources and content of the images, she begins to refresh her memory by returning to the Internet.”
"Jordan-based artist Samah Hijawi took on the concept of land by investigating the geological possibility of earthquakes along the Great Rift Valley. The artist pondered the consequences of all of historic Palestine disappearing in the aftermath of an earthquake. From this idea, Hijawi brought her project to Jericho’s main public square, inviting citizens to come and discuss the idea of a complete disappearance of the land of Palestine, and re-imagine their personal political solutions based on that. The artist took her public debate and placed it back in the context of the home, creating a livingroom with couches, coffee tables, a rug and a television playing footage of the political conversations."
"British artist Sarah Beddington devised [a] public procession through Jericho…based on bird migration. The artist and volunteers wore embroidered cloaks as they walked up Wadi al-Auja, close to Jericho, pausing to read excerpts from a 12th-century Sufi poem that describes a spiritual migration of birds in search of a leader."
"One thing that is cool about hijab (Muslim head scarf) for me, is that I get to experience the other side of how people treat you. At work, I get treated a certain way because I’m in a stripper outfit. And the next day I can put on a hijab, a long dress, pants, long sleeves, and high neck, and people will be like, ‘Oh, she’s so pious, she’s probably a virgin.’” The Gaza Stripper Her name is Ari Lauren Souad Said. Born of an Israeli mother and a Palestinian father, she spent much of her childhood torn between two conflicting faiths and cultures in Israel. In her teens she was sent to live with her grandparents in Texas where she lives today with her four year old daughter, Avigail-Jerusalem Said. Mom by day, and topless dancer by night, the “Gaza Stripper “ as she is known, is her stage name. Once a practicing Jew she now identifies more closely with Islam. Her tattoos act as a witness and corporal stigmata of her clash of identities. She now faces the same challenge herself in raising her own daughter of mixed faith heritage. “I don’t’ feel like it’s fair that you should be forced to pick a side and chose, especially if you’re half (Palestinian) – half (Israeli). People don’t realize how very very similar Jewish and Muslim customs actually are…even how Hebrew and Arabic sound a lot alike or even look a lot alike…it’s almost like they are the same religion. We just use different words for things.” Since she was 18 years old, Ari works as a topless dancer locally around Austin and at strip clubs by the military facilities in Aberdine. She also raises her daughter alone. After putting her daughter to bed, Ari leaves to work in the strip clubs throughout the night, and often returns home in the early morning. She will then drive Avigail-Jerusalem to day school then return home to sleep. Since Ari was 8-months pregnant, Avigail-Jerusalem’s father has been out of the picture. “I tried to work it out with my daughter’s dad – even though I didn’t like him. Because I know what it feels to have one side of your family hate your other parent. And pretend to like you. Or genuinely like you. But either way your like “Dude, I’m like half that and your fucking telling me you hate it? How is that supposed to make me feel? - So then even though I desperately don’t like him, myself, I don’t ever want her to have that feeling; that I hate part of her because I don’t. I love every part of her. “ Formerly a Suicide Girl model, Ari has covered much of her body with references to English literature, political and religious references in both Arabic and Hebrew and with what she calls “cute” animals. Her knuckles for instance spell out “ West-Bank”, while one of her Hebrew tattoos states, " I don’t believe in God". In another instance, an Arabic tattoo wrapping around her neck reads in bold characters, "I am haram (sin)”. “Suicide Girls was created by girls who decided to commit “social suicide” - like getting tattoos, body modifications, and stuff. You know, pretty girls that normally people would be like “Oh, look at the beautiful girl“, but then they get all these body modifications and things that were not originally accepted as a form of beauty.” ***Update: Ari was killed in a car accident this Spring. She passed away on May 28, 2011. She was only 27 years old."
"Every aerial photograph taken in Israel must be submitted to an army censor for inspection in order to check if state military secrets have been disclosed. The censor then erases from the photographs the areas used for military purposes as well as facilities and institutions whose function is to enhance and protect state security. Photographers are forbidden to show these erased areas and failure to comply is considered a violation of state security.
Museums in Israel have ignored the political realities within which they are operating. Not only have they not offered any resistance to or critique of the state ideology, but for the most part have supported and collaborated with government offices and the army. As such, museums are nothing but a disguised function of state apparatus and therefore should be officially perceived as military facilities. I therefore decided, in compliance with army regulations, to erase museums, like other security sensitive institutions, so that their location will not be disclosed and state security compromised.”
Creator: Hanna Cinthio “Hanouneh” & Suhell Nafar (DAM) | 2012
"So it’s New Year’s Eve got my glass filled
bottle of champagne chilled lookin at the crowd around me bubblin’ like they all thrilled DJ’s looking real skilled Mek we hit the dancefloor and forget about reality like all dem likkle youth killed All dressed up got plenty dollar bill in me pocket Dem fireworks a-blastin me eyes out their socket But I know some people get a different kind of rocket I feel my mind drifting south I get a bitter taste in my mouth And as the celebration ‘round me increases I know my old block gets smashed into pieces As the sky lights up from bonfiring I know some people be running from gunfiring Dem be looking for cover until the enemy’s done firing Not every blast be non-violent
Said it’s New Year’s Eve Don’t know how we could be so naïve Raise the glass and cheer as we toast to the New Year While dem a lie and deceive I said it’s New Year’s Eve And I don’t know what to believe Scheming and plotting in Washington and Tel Aviv Murderous plans that cause my people to grieve
سهيل نفار: أوه غزّة, غزة في قلوبنا أوه غزّة, أم المقاومة أوه غزّة, تبكّي كل الأمة أوه غزّة, رافعة راسنا كلنا سنة جديدة حرب قدميه, بقصّة جديده أللي صار بسيدي صار بأبوي وبصير فيّ أوه غزة, بيت لهيه بيت حنون وجبالية ألوف المتصاوبٍين وفيش محل بالمستشفى حصار, قصف من الجو بحر وبر وأنت جوّات الدار بردو بخطر أوه غزة, غزة ألهاشم أوه غزة, ولا مرة تركع دايماً بتهاجم أوه غزّة, غزة في قلوبنا أوه غزّة, أم المقاومة أوه غزّة, تبكّي كل الأمة أوه غزّة, رافعة راسنا كلنا
Said it’s New Year’s Eve Don’t know how we could be so naïve Raise the glass and cheer as we toast to the New Year While them a lie and deceive I said it’s New Year’s Eve And I don’t know what to believe Scheming and plotting in Washington and Tel Aviv Murderous plans that cause my people to grieve
Ghost town chill anna rumours of war On Salah ad-Din and Omar al-Mukhtar Shockwave impact wipes the streets clean From Rimal to Midan Filasteen Colour explosion like a cartoon From Rafah to Beit Hanoun Duck and cover fiyah soon come UN resolution - what a bam bam”
"In this work I tried to put forth my vision that is influenced by my contradictory interaction between my body and my psyche, and my inability to comprehend the entire events that occur in a peculiar society that has its own special political, social and economic circumstances. I did not wish to look for solutions or the motives and conditions that shape the current situation, bur rather I tried to present part of what lives in me while focusing on the points that seem to me to be of utmost significance. The place in this work is very narrow and the living conditions in it make it imperative for man to die by all means that can be projected. But the survivors will remain subject to duplicity, blockade and internal contradiction. The awaited redeemer can only rid us of the harmful scenes without alleviating our pain, and gradually as time passes on, things retain their ordinary nature. There is no possibility to be saved from this world, and there is no sign of hope for a better and less painful world."
Imbalance of Power: Understanding Weapons and Casualties in Gaza and Israel
Creator: The Jerusalem Fund | 2012
"Created by the Jerusalem Fund for Education & Community Development, an independent, Washington DC-based non-profit group illustrating the different types of weapons available to Israel and Palestinian groups. Putting things into perspective, view this infographic detailing the disparities in weapons arsenals of Palestinian groups in Gaza and Israel. Besides the massive killing powers of the Israeli weapons shown here, what are not displayed are the numerous naval battleships and Merkava tanks owned and operated by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Israel has submarines, missile boats, corvettes (the largest warships in Israel’s naval fleet), patrol boats, and numerous chasers and landing ships. Each Merkava tank is armed with two 7.62 machine guns and a 60 mm mortar that can be loaded and fired internally, in addition to the main gun, and has gone through developments to ensure accuracy and lethality."
“A Narrative Based on the Memoir of Wadad Makdisi Cortas. Written by Mariam C. Said and Vanessa Redgrave and directed and narrated by Vanessa Redgrave, A World I Loved is a one-of-a-kind theatrical event based on the memoir of Said’s mother, Wadad Makdisi Cortas, an Arab woman who lived through and chronicled one of the most tumultuous periods in recent history. Beginning in Lebanon in 1917 and spanning over half a century, through the creation of Israel to the Lebanese Civil War, A World I Loved interweaves Cortas’ personal experiences as a student, teacher, and then principal of the Ahliah School for Girls in Beirut with the wider political and historical narrative of Lebanon throughout the 20th century. A rich narrative combining music, storytelling, choral singing, and video projections, A World I Loved also includes appearances by two of Cortas’s direct descendants: her daughter and co-author of the production, Mariam (widow of the Palestinian scholar and former Columbia University professor Edward Said) and her granddaughter, Najla Said. They are joined by Nadim Sawalha, along with musicians Steven Bentley-Klein (violin), Sary Khalife (cello), Sofya Melikyan (piano), and the Spence Middle School Chorus.”
"The abuse of painkillers and anti-depressants in the Palestinian territories has been on the rise for the past decade. Reports have shown an increased consumption in pills such as Tramadol, valium and others in the West Bank and in the Gaza strip. The causes behind this collective inclination to abuse painkillers and antidepressants are mostly general anxiety,depression and, in some cases, sexual frustration. The Dome of the Rock has surpassed religious connotations to become the image of the capital-to-be while maintaining its importance as ‘the landmark’ of Islamic and Arab culture in Palestine. “Pain Killers” juxtaposes this sacred image of Palestinian aspirations with pain suppressing and antidepressant drugs, thus serving as a dialogue between Palestinian rhetoric and reality, fantasy and drug-altered states of mind. The work also references models of the Dome of the Rock made by Palestinian prisoners. The dimensions were calculated by dividing the real dimensions by a factor of 62, and 10,000 pill capsules were used. Size : 54 × 98 cm."
"… uncertainty: “What did you say?” “I said, what is homeland? I was asking myself that question a moment ago. Naturally. What is a homeland? Is it these two chairs that remained in this room for twenty years? The table? Peacock feathers? The picture of Jerusalem on the wall? The copper lock? The oak tree? The balcony? What is a homeland? Khaldoun? Our illusions about him? Fathers? Their sons? What is a homeland? With respect to Faris al-Lubda, what is a homeland? Is it the picture of his brother hanging on the wall? I’m only asking.”from ‘Returning to Haifa’ by Ghassan Kanafani’."
"An affliction or a blessing? To many of its original inhabitants, most of whom have in the course of the last hundred years immigrated to North America, seeing Ramallah now, is both an affliction and a blessing. Their individual and collective memory of the place - the “village” they had left behind, has become confused and somewhat marred by the dramatic change in recent decades. Ramallah now is a throbbing cosmopolitan city, a heterogeneous social structure, experiencing fast demographic and economic change and the emergence of the new middle class as observed in the change in peoples’ attire, in living styles, in behavior and in accent. There is as well as an unprecedented construction boom and transformation in the landscape. The ethnographic section in “Ramallah - the fairest of them all?” mirrors issues of roots and authenticity, touching on the meanings of belonging, ownership, loss and estrangement. It’s a tale of Ramallah as it was in the 40’s and 50’s of last century, a small town rooted in the history of its family clans and origins. Relived in this exhibition as if through the mirror of the past, Ramallah is remembered as a charming place, with personal stories of love, immigration, marriage, myths, heroes and anti-heroes. It’s a story that narrates life modes, ceremonies and rituals of private, sometimes mundane reality of everyday life. A cry of loss? Perhaps, yet this exhibition is an invitation for recovery and reflection not only on the Ramallah that was but what it ought to be."
"For more than a hundred years there has been a regular flow of immigration to the USA by Ramallah citizens, where they now form one of the most sizable communities amongst Arab immigrant groups in North America. This work prepared by artist Rajie Cook is a tale of the poignant hardships of immigration and estrangement. “Pastports is a documentary about my father›s first journey from Ramallah to America in 1906. My father Najeeb Esa Cook, was born in Palestine in 1886. The video takes the viewer on the thirteen years of this journey working as a peddler in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, restaurateur in Chicago, Illinois, miner in Bonne Terra, Missouri, department store stock room worker in Chicago, laying railroad track and building railroad freight cars in Aurora, Illinois. He returns to Ramallah with his brother Boulos in 1919 and marries Jaleela (Totah) Cook. Najeeb and Jaleela came to America in 1927 and raised their family and five children: Lillian, Rajie, Julia, Wadie and Edward. Najeeb died at 94 on September 9, 1980.”
"I can’t recall when I first heard that strange melody coming from his house, the one opposite mine… I stood there for a long while absorbing the sound and watching his melancholic face and long dreamy gaze. He looked towards me ! does he see me as I am able to see him?… is he playing for me?… is he wooing me with his music? These lines are from “al Lahn al Awwal” (The First Melody) , a love novella by Ramallah author Yasmin Zahran. Partly biographical- partly fictional, the story is centered on the platonic relationship of Raya and Musa. The backdrop is a neighborhood of old Ramallah - then a small village and the misty valley with the terraced hills surrounding that valley. The protagonists: people from that village, family members, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors, village elders and a myriad other characters some real while others as if extracted from folk tales. The exquisite mostly poetic narrative of the story, portrayed in intimate descriptive vignettes takes us to various locations and situations, shedding light on the daily life of Ramallah before 1948, as people went with their normal activities and practices. This was the “authentic” Ramallah before immigration, wars and political conflicts changed the fundamental nature of the place. Visual artist Vera Tamari, titling her work “Terra Fidea – Land of Fidelity” adapts sections from Yasmin Zahran’s book, in an installation of readings and painted tableaux specially created for this exhibition."
"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? The infamous assertion from the fairytale of Snow White by the wicked Queen shows explicitly the ‘mirror’ as a medium in which one is critical and aware of his own reflection, his being, his existence, and his form in a particular context. The queen kept asking the mirror about her contested ‘fairness’; unraveling threads of insecurities, the dark side, her reign, and her fight for the title as the fairest of them all? The ‘mirror’ exists in our homes, reflecting our deepest fears and secrets is thus a medium that enables one to reflect, change, explore, and reform in context and in being. ‘Art is the image of a human being’ as stated by Joseph Beuys. Art is a ‘mirror’ where one can see the reflection of his otherness. The mirror recreates the image of the context it inhabits and at the same time one can perceive the context and its character through it. Hence, art is not an alien to its spatial realm; it reflects all the processes, events, objects, and structures of that realm. When people are confronted with art, then they are in reality confronted with their own self; hence, they open their own eyes and reflect on their freedom, autonomy, and their role in society. Six artists, four interventions create a mirror through which Ramallah’s contemporary image is reconstructed. The city itself becomes an exhibition where people stare back in inquisition at the different art forms from billboards, and posters to vitrined trash, reflecting on local spatial issues of modernity, architecture, politics, society, identity and change."
"A series of public interventions which explore the rapid transformation of the urban fabric of Ramallah. Ramallah is becoming a city of grey concrete towers with skeletons of half-finished high-rises everywhere. It seems that there is a construction site on every corner with new high-rise buildings replacing old buildings and wiping out the city’s architectural heritage. With a neoliberal economy that is still in the process of spatial appropriation, urban spaces in Ramallah are on a trajectory of accommodating global processes despite the fact that they exist under Israeli occupation. The influx of new global telecommunication technology, transnational politics, and global economy has caused a turbulent shift; the landscape is being destroyed, there is a proliferation of gated communities, growing social segregation, continued destruction of the rural agro-economy, and an ever increasing obsession with consumerism. Much of the architecture of the gated communities is a reproduction of the colonial imagery. “Al Riyadh” the promise of a paradise is an attempt to create moments of criticality in the transition and collision between locality and neoliberalism. It questions the correlation of the decline of the Palestinian collective political project and its resistance to colonialism with the emergence of a city entrapped by neoliberal politics, neo-capitalist structures and a complete isolation from the Palestinian community"
"Inass Yassin’s “Projection” is a public intervention originated as part of a body of work that examines modernity and the transformation of urban space and the architecture of the city of Ramallah. The work is a public invitation for witnessing the downfall of the building of Al-Waleed Cinema. “Projection” examines the cinema and its multilayered social history, tracing back the past through exploring narratives and visual icons from posters, ornamentations, architecture, projection machines, and other objects. The process of recent urban transformations in Palestinian urban centers have lead to a rapid erasure of the intimacy of cities, their social histories and memories of the past as represented in the architectural heritage. With its current worn structure and unnoticed damaged sign, Al-Waleed Cinema reflects the fragility of a derelict urban structure that still holds its iconism through its notorious name while the excavation work for its renewal is nevertheless, progressing very close to its foundations. “Projection” stages critically the schism between the glorious history of Al-Waleed Cinema and the temporality and distortion of a live projection within its present demolished architecture."
"What’s wrong about having a normal life in Ramallah? Am I resisting by insisting to have a normal life in Ramallah? How to distinguish between having a normal life in Ramallah and normalizing with the occupation? Where are Ramallah’s borders? Do I need a permission to leave Ramallah? Where does Ramallah end? Am I living in a bubble called Ramallah? Is Ramallah liberal? Do you see your future in Ramallah? Do you consider your self from Ramallah? In which form do you resist the occupation in Ramallah? Is Ramallah the capital? Is Ramallah under occupation? Is there a life outside Ramallah? Is Ramallah New York? Is Ramallah Amman? Who owns Ramallah? What is Ramallah hiding? “Ramallah Syndrome” is a public intervention by Sandi Hilal, Alessandro Petti and Yazid Anani. Ramallah Syndrome is a collective that examines the side effect of the new spatial and social order that emerged after the collapse of the Oslo ‘peace process’ which was manifested in a urban psychology of ‘hallucination of normality’, the fantasy of a co-existence of occupation and liberty. The work of the collective inclines on questioning issues such as the illusions and realities of the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state; likewise, the consequence of the perpetual persistence of a colonial regime and its legacy on Palestinian national identity. Ramallah Syndrome is ultimately about the critique and potentiality associated with forms of resistance and subjugation in a colonial context. This edition of Ramallah Syndrome takes the dialogue and questions of the collective to the public spaces of Ramallah. Thirty questions printed on canvas were distributed by the artists to different coffee shops and restaurants all around the city."
"Palestine. 1939. Revolution is in the air. Blood is spilling on the streets. Prisoners are being tortured and hanged — but all the tennis-playing English invaders have on their minds is what they’ll wear to the next costume ball!
In the brilliant new play, Tennis in Nablus, two nations buckle under conflicting claims to the land they believe is rightfully theirs … and as the world explodes absurdly around them, one divided family must face their own demons as they seek to achieve peace and freedom with dignity.”
Before the Wall is an ongoing photo project that aims to portray a representative segment of the last generation of Palestinian youth born before the Israeli apartheid wall is completed. The silence of the images serves as a sombre reminder of the brutal reality in which people live, imprisoned by a wall with a total length of about 708 kilometres and a towering height of up to 8 metres.
“Life in Spite of Everything” is the motto of “Gaza / Sderot”
“This impressive online documentary project reports on the day-to-day experiences of men, women and children on both sides of the Palestinian-Israeli border, in Gaza (Palestine) and Sderot (Israel): their lives and their survival on a daily basis. Over the course of two months, two two-minute films are being placed on the site each day. Under difficult living conditions and the threat of air attacks and bombings, people do keep on working, loving and dreaming. Life in spite of everything.”
"In Ramallah, Running represents Guy Mannes-Abbott’s uniquely personal encounter with Palestine, interweaving short, poetic texts with exploratory essays. International artists and prominent writers have been invited to respond both directly and indirectly to the texts with newly commissioned works. The text consists of 14 parts, which alternate running within the limits of the city and walking out from it to, along, beyond and off limits, discovering how insidiously mobile those limits are under Occupation. With singular style and compelling force, Mannes-Abbott’s texts generate a very special intimacy with a rarely seen or experienced Palestine.”
“The War Around Us is a powerful, deeply moving new documentary through the eyes of these two reporters, Ayman Mohyeldin and Sherine Tadros. Directed by Abdallah Omeish (whose best-known film is Occupation 101), The War Around Us is just 75 minutes long. But that’s enough. Tightly focused and intentionally restricted in its scope and aims, it follows in chronological order the course of the conflict, intercut with post facto interviews with Mohyeldin and Tadros. At the time both were reporting for Al Jazeera English. Mohyeldin was based in Gaza, but Tadros was there on an assignment to cover reactions to the election of US President Barack Obama. With apparently free access to Al Jazeera footage of the attack, as well as images from the Palestinian news agency Ramattan, the film is extremely graphic and disturbing.”
"In this graphic novel, legendary comic book writer Harvey Pekar and illustrator JT Waldman examine Pekar’s disillusionment with the State of Israel. Pekar and Waldman weave together Jewish history with Pekar’s memories from his childhood experiences as the son of ardent Zionists. Published two years after his death, the book captures Pekar’s talent for unabashed truth-telling."