- Michel Khleifi
Michel Khleifi is a Palestinian film writer, director and producer based in Belgium. He has directed and produced several documentary and feature films including Fertile Memory (1980), Ma’loul Celebrates its Destruction (1985), Caniticle of the Stones (990), L’orde Du Jour (1993) and with Eyal Sivan Route 181: fragments of a journey in Palestine-Israel (2003). Khleifi has received a number of prestigious awards including the International Critics Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the Golden Shell at san Sebastian in 1987 for his film Wedding in Galilee. He is currently teaches at INSAS in Brussels, where he lives.
“De la colonisation à l’émancipation : le chemin de l’engagement”
Résistance : un beau thème, fort, dynamique mais très vague. C’est un thème trop vaste si on ne le décortique pas à fond. Il faut le déconstruire afin de le rendre plus clair. Tout le monde peut résister, tout le monde peut entrer en résistance : les faibles contre les forts, les petits contre les grands, les exploités contre les exploitants, et surtout les colonisés contre les colonisateurs. Mais le contraire peut se produire : les forts s’organisent pour résister contre les faibles, les grands contre les petits, les colonisateurs contre les colonisés. Mais comment sortir de cette situation ? Des éléments historiques, moraux, éthiques et philosophiques peuvent-ils nous aider à voir plus clair, à choisir notre camp ? Y a-t-il une approche universelle?
Résister c’est aussi accepter de se poser des questions, même les plus déchirantes.
Résister c’est s’obliger à élargir notre horizon de savoir, de connaissance, d’analyse. C’est faire de nous des citoyens, de nos sociétés à part entière, surtout de la société des humains. Nous appartenons avant tout à l’humanité dans sa diversité, avant toute autre appartenance.
Pourquoi et comment ai-je choisi d’ancrer mon acte cinématographique dès le départ dans une culture de résistance qui plonge ses racines dans les différents pays, peuples et époques? Ce sont des poètes, des dramaturges, des romanciers et des artistes palestiniens, arabes et du monde entier, engagés dans leur combat pour la liberté, qui m’ont accompagné dans mon aventure vers l’expression cinématographique et la culture de résistance. Ces femmes et ces hommes m’ont appris à poser des questions avant de proposer des réponses toutes faites sur tous les sujets. Je devais d’abord connaître ma vraie relation avec l’engagement, la vérité, bref, le sens de la lutte. Je devais voir plus clairement l’image de mon oppresseur, en l’occurrence, celui qui nous colonise vous et moi jusqu’à présent, l’Etat sioniste. Mais aussi accepter de se poser des questions sur les causes de notre réalité tragique de dominés, de colonisés : pourquoi n’avons-nous pas su résister au rouleau compresseur qu’est le mouvement sioniste, et ne le savons-nous si peu encore jusqu’à présent ? Quelle entreprise autocritique devrait s’imposer à nous ? Comment récupérer notre dignité, libérer notre esprit, nous émanciper avant de s’organiser pour l’émancipation ?
Aujourd’hui résister c’est surtout :
.Combattre les mensonges et l’ignorance, en Palestine comme ailleurs.
.C’est lutter contre soi et contre ce que la société – par son fonctionnement général – nous impose à garder dans le non-dit.
. Dépasser la peur et les menaces familiales, tribales, confessionnelles et politiques, et les obstacles qui nous paralysent pour mener une résistance digne de notre cause.
. Repérer les discours qui pervertissent les rapports entre les faibles et les forts.
. Trouver l’art de rendre l’information accessible, maniable, pour acquérir la connaissance et le savoir nécessaires. Choisir les mains de ceux, dans lesquelles, ils peuvent être efficaces.
. Écouter les laissés pour compte, les colonisés, les exploités, et les soutenir.
. Cultiver la ruse pour la répandre parmi les dominés.
Ce sont les éléments incontournables pour construire (fonder) une « culture des pauvres » à travers l’art, la littérature, le cinéma et le théâtre pour répandre l’esprit de résistance.
- Annemarie Jacir
Biography: Part of a group of Arab filmmakers pushing new boundaries, Annemarie Jacir has written, directed and produced over sixteen films. One of Filmmaker magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Cinema, her short film like twenty impossibles (Cinefondation 2003) was the first Arab short film in history to be an official selection of the Cannes Film Festival and continued to break ground when it went on to be a finalist for the Academy Awards. Her second work to debut in Cannes, the critically acclaimed Salt of this Sea (Un Certain Regard 2008) was also Palestine’s 2008 Oscar Entry for Best Foreign Language Film, and went on to win the FIPRESCI Critics Award, garnering fourteen other international awards including Best Film in Milan and Traverse City, screening at more than two hundred festivals across the globe.
Her latest film When I Saw You won Best Asian Film at the Berlin International Festival, Best Arab Film at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, and Best Film in Amiens and Phoenix. It was the opening Gala film of the Bird’s Eye View Film Festival in London. Garnering a nomination at the Asian Pacific Screen Awards, it was also Palestine’s 2013 Oscar Entry for Best Foreign Language Film. When I Saw You’s production was noted for being entirely Arab and Palestinian financed, with a Palestinian cast and crew, and all Palestinian producers, marking a new trend for independent cinema.
With a commitment to teaching, training and hiring locally, Annemarie also curates, actively promoting independent cinema in the region. She is co-founder and chief curator of the groundbreaking Dreams of a Nation cinema project dedicated to the promotion of Palestinian cinema. In 2003, she organized and curated the largest traveling film festival in Palestine, which included the historic first screening of several archival Palestinian films from the revolution screening for the first time in Palestine.
Founder of Philistine Films, an independent production house, she collaborates regularly with fellow filmmakers. She also teaches screenwriting and works as a freelance editor as well as screenwriter. Currently she is completing a screenplay for Mira Nair and is in development on her next film.
- Clifton Arihwakehte Nicholas
Clifton Arihwakehte Nicholas is a Kaneinkehaka (Mohawk) from the community of Kanehsatake north west of Montreal. He is a documentary filmmaker whose films focus on Indigenous and environmental struggles in North America. Clifton has been intimately involved in his own people’s struggles for more than 25 years. He was involved in the 1990 Oka Crisis, when his community defended their territory from settler development and theft. Currently he was involved in the fight against mining interests in his community as well as continuing his filmmaking with a new film on the 1990 Crisis and it’s impacts on Indigenous struggles.
Abstract: “Contemporary Film and the Indigenous Struggle Against Dispossession, Exploitation, and Racism” This presentation is about the role film plays in representing indigenous struggles in North America and elsewhere. The use of film as an artistic medium to explore, expose and further resistance to dispossession, exploitation and racism will be examined.
- Diego Mondaca
Director, Writer and Producer, studied film at EICTV in Cuba. He completed his studies in 2008 with his thesis film The Chirola which screened and awarded prizes in prestigious festivals such as IDFA, Biarritz, Mar del Plata, É Tudo Verdade and more. In 2008 Diego also founded the company Manosudaca Video Filmes to start producing his films. Diego was also awarded an exchange scholarship in documentary direction at the FILMAKADEMIE BADEN WÜRTTEMBERG (Germany). His full length documentary CITADEL, presented had his world premier in the official selection of IDFA 2011 and awarded production funds from World Cinema Fund – Berlinale, JanVrijman Fund – IDFA and Latin Side of the Doc-DocBsAs Best Doc Project. Diego is currently developing his next film CHACO, the project was awarded forJerusalem Film Lab 2012-2013, Best Project at BAL.BAFICI 2012 and supported by TyPA Workshop. Now Diego its working as a Head of Productor in Bolivia and 1thAD of Werner Herzog for Werer’s film SALT and FIRE.
Programmer for FOCO RADICAL de Festival de CIne RADICAL, Bolivia.
Coordinator and Programmer for Documentary Film Festival A CIELO ABIERTO. (Bolivia).
- Mohamed Harb
Mohamd Harb was born in 1979 in Gaza City where he lives and works. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts / major décor from Al Najah University in Nablus (2001). He is a member of the Palestinian Association of Fine Artists. He has been working as a director at the Palestinian Space Channel in Gaza since 2003. Harb has also participated in many local, regional and international exhibitions, festivals and workshops which were organized in Europe and different Arab countries . Harb had witnessed many hard events and situations in Gaza such as the uprising, blockade, and war and he still lives under the hard stand still situation in Gaza. His art has been influenced by the gray reality of the Palestinian issue as he tried to characterize it by colors. Nevertheless, all of his different types of work investigate the invisible human experience. Since 1995 Harb has been working in plastic and other fields of arts. Recently, he has become interested in photography, video art and documentary direction films within the plastic artistic vision as he has deep imagination in light formation art and image creation through a combination of art and technology. Harb becomes one of the most important contemporary Palestinian artists in the field of visual art.Also he is very active in organizing many exhibitions and workshops in Palestine and abroad. Harb has received a number of local and international awards and several grants for his innovation not only in project implementation but also for the use of IT and video techniques. Harb has been working on several projects since three years, including the artistic ( Other Light ) which has recently been shown at many States . Harb, like many other artists, is still looking forward to reflecting the reality of his dream to build a better life in Gaza, beyond tray colours.
This project pushes us to think deeply about artists and art practices in Gaza. The film was made by a group of artists who were able to create art works with a different view despite the experience of war and blockade. Many artists think that Gaza is a grave for artists, but we think differently. In this project we as artists are delivering a different image about life in Gaza. We are working on changing the dark image, amidst which we are living. Using colors and light, we narrate our stories and experiences including the war’s brutality and the illegal blockade especially the gate of Rafah crossing, where all dreams stop. We express the ability to use art to embody our experiences and struggle and to communicate our tough reality and messages. Each artist has what might seem a different story, but deep inside all stories are similar. There is a message that we want to deliver in a different way, a message of survival through art.
- Timothy Schwab
Tim Schwab is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Concordia University in Montréal where he teaches film, video and sound production and documentary studies. He has produced and directed numerous documentaries including the IDA award-winning THE BURNING BARREL and the acclaimed CBC documentary BEING OSAMA, broadcast on television networks worldwide. His most recent film is CINEMA PALESTINE, about the work of Palestinian filmmakers.
Drawing on the presenter’s own documentary work with Native American and Palestinian artists and recent contemporary case studies, the presentation will explore the interaction between survivor testimony, archives and creative expression and explore the impact, opportunities and challenges presented by the emergence of digital capture and archiving technologies relative to the continuing evolution of documentary practice and human rights advocacy.
- Mahasen Nasser-Eldin
Jerusalem-born filmmaker Mahasen Nasser-Eldin tells stories of resistance and resilience, crafting carefully researched and scripted narratives that restore new life to forgotten figures and celebrate those on the margins of society. Her films, which have screened at local and international festivals, feature characters such as Karimeh Abbud, the first woman photographer in Palestine (Restored Pictures, 2012), Mays, a Palestinian Circus School artist (From Palestine with Love, 2010), Samia, a 71 year old feisty, active and committed woman whose life is marked by her struggle for the right of girls to education and the right of Palestinians to live in Jerusalem (Samia, 2009), and Abu Daoud, an East Jerusalem father whose son is due to appear next day in the Israeli military court (On the East Side, 2007). While these films focus on pre- and post-Nakba Palestine, her current film, now in post-production, ventures further afield to follow the stories told by the people of Canada’s First Nations. A meticulous researcher, Mahasen specializes in reconstructing and scripting historical narratives using audio and visual archives. Her research interest focuses on the use of film in the writing of historical narratives. She is currently conducting research for a film about early modern Palestinian women in 1920 Palestine. Mahasen holds a master’s degree in Arab Studies from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., and a master’s degree in filmmaking from Goldsmith’s College, London. She currently teaches film production and film studies at Bethlehem’s Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture.
“Stories of Decolonization from Turtle Island”
This presentation follows a personal experience in the making of “The Winter of Discontent”, a documentary film that unfolds stories of resistance in Turtle Island or what is today called Canada. The film is a statement of solidarity between peoples, who are to this day resisting colonialism and capitalism and in a continuous process of gathering their fragmented and subdued narratives to write their history. The filmmaker, a Palestinian woman who lands in “Canada” as an immigrant, commences with a reflection that brings together the collective experience of Natives in Turtle Island with the Palestinian one. After staying for one year she decides to terminate her immigration procedure and move back to her homeland.
- George Rivera
Dr. George Rivera received his doctorate degree in Sociology from the State University of New York in 1972. He is presently a professor in the Department of Art & Art History at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado (USA). He is a Fulbright Scholar and his life’s work is archived in “the George Rivera Papers” at the Benson Library at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. Dr. Rivera has published articles in national and international journals and has had exhibitions in Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Mexico, Palestine, Peru, Russia, Spain, and throughout the United States. In addition to being an artist, Professor Rivera is an art critic and a curator.
ART & RESISTANCE: ART EXHIBITION FROM THE UNITED STATES
Selected artists from all over the world who address activism and resistance in their artwork will be examined in this Presentation. Moreover, the artworks of racial and ethnic minority artists (Asian Americans, African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans) in the United States will be included to illustrate how artists who represent these groups resist cultural assimilation, discrimination, hegemony, and oppression in American society.
- Ellyn Walker
Ellyn Walker is a writer and curator based in Toronto/Tkaronto, Ontario, where she grew up in an African/Caribbean community located on Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Wendat land. Her work is informed by critical art history, Indigenous-Settler studies and anti-racist methodologies, and focuses on the politics of cross-cultural work within representative and collaborative arts practices. Ellyn’s curatorial projects have been presented most recently by the Art Gallery of Mississauga (Mississauga, ON), Prefix Institute for Contemporary Art (Toronto, ON), and the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto, ON). Her writing has been published by such venues as the Journal of Curatorial Studies, Prefix Photo, PUBLIC Journal, Fuse Magazine, Inuit Art Quarterly, BlackFlash, C Magazine, Thames Art Gallery (Chatham-Kent, ON), A Space Gallery (Toronto, ON), the Power Plant (Toronto, ON) and Surrey Art Gallery (Surrey, BC), among others. Ellyn is currently a PhD candidate in the Cultural Studies program at Queen’s University (Kingston, ON) where her research explores curating as a relational and decolonizing practice.
“Occupation as Implication: Unsettling Setter-Colonial Relations through Writing and Curatorial Practice”
This presentation will explore the significance of occupation as a settler-colonial process in the Canadian context, and the ways in which my art criticism and curatorial work engages with this ongoing reality. Using my most recent curatorial project CANADIAN BELONGING(s) (2016) as an example, I will give an overview of the exhibition, which features nine artists who through their work demonstrate nuanced and complex examples of belonging on the land now known as Canada. In doing so, the exhibition’s collective artworks speak back to dominant representations of national identity that are steeped in histories of settler-colonialism and white supremacy, and that allow for new relations and imaginaries to unfold. Reflecting on the relational process involved in curatorial practice and the citational relationships I have nurtured through my writing, I will explore the potential of what it means to think through relationality as a decolonizing gesture.
- Anna Khimasia
Anna Khimasia received her Ph.D. from the Institute of Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. She has been a Contract Instructor at Carleton University since 2008 where she teaches a variety of courses on contemporary art, performance, and the politics of the street. This coming year she will develop and curate a new initiative for the Carleton University Art Gallery called Open Space Lab, a research development space for more exploratory and performative practices.
Over the last few years we have seen a rise in mass demonstrations and political protests around the world. In the narratives of right wing, military and industrial regimes, protests and protestors are often conceived of as violent, reactionary mobs out to destroy private property. The nameless protestor gets cast in the public imagination as irrational, destructive, and anti-social. However, performance theorist Richard Schechner has argued that acts of protest can be read as performance in which the street becomes the stage, and bodies rehearse and perform democratic space. In this uniquely politicized space of the street, is it possible that more deliberate performative tactics might be a useful strategy for more potent forms of resistance, circumventing these associations of protest with violence and destruction? How then might these strategies prove productive and make recognizable the limits, boundaries, and assumptions associated with bodies, publics, and spaces?
- Wanda Nanibush
Wanda Nanibush is an Anishinaabe-kwe image and word warrior, curator and community organizer living in her territory of Chimnissing. Currently, Nanibush is a guest curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario and is touring her exhibition The Fifth World, which opened January 2016 at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. The island life allows her to finish upcoming projects, including a film called A Love Letter to My People, also a documentary on Gerald Vizenor, and a book called Violence No More (Arp Press), as well as an anthology of Indigenous Curatorial Writing and more. She has a Masters Degree in Visual Studies from the University of Toronto and has taught doctoral courses on Indigenous history and politics at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.
“Performing Sovereignty in Contemporary Indigenous Art”
The main question underlying this talk is: how do contemporary Indigenous artists engage the politics of sovereignty and land? The focus will be on works that exhibit a poetic rather than didactic approach to the relation of resistance and artistic production. We will delve into why this choice is made and how it shifts the debate on sovereignty and what it could mean. The work of artists like Rebecca Belmore, Frank Shebageget, Nadia Myre, Ursula Johnson and more will be discussed. Palestinian artists will also be examined in order to ask: Does this approach work in a Palestinian context?
- Gita Hashemi
Gita Hashemi is a Toronto-based transdisciplinary artist and curator whose work addresses geopolitics in historical and contemporary contexts, informed by her experience as a refugee from Iran and a settler on Turtle Island. Her multi-platform projects include Negotiations: From a Piece of Land to a Land of Peace, Locating Afghanistan, In Contact with Iraq, Auto-liberacion, The Book of Illuminations, Ephemeral Monument, Headquarters: Pathology of an Ouster, and, most recently, the performance series Passages including Wonders of the Sea, Inhabiting the North, and Like Flesh and Blood. On the Land is the second in the Declarations series. She has been a long-time activist in social justice, “race” and gender equity and Indigenous and Palestine solidarity movements.
- Stefan St-Laurent
Stefan St-Laurent, multidisciplinary artist and curator, is born in Moncton, New-Brunswick, lives and works in Gatineau. He was the invited curator for the Biennale d’art performatif de Rouyn-Noranda in 2008, and for the 28th and 29th Symposium international d’art contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul in 2010 and 2011 in Québec. From 2002 – 2011, he worked as Curator of Galerie SAW Gallery, and has been an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Ottawa since 2010. His performance and video work has been presented in various galleries and institutions, including the National Arts Centre (French Theatre) in Ottawa, Centre national de la photographie in Paris, Edsvik Konst och Kultur in Sollentuna (Sweden), YYZ in Toronto, Western Front in Vancouver and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax. As a media arts programmer and independent curator, he has worked with the Lux Centre in London, the Cinémathèque Québécoise in Montréal, Festival international du cinéma francophone en Acadie in Moncton, as well as Pleasure Dome, Images Festival of Independent Film and Video and Vtape in Toronto. He is currently Director of AXENÉO7 in Gatineau, Québec, Canada.
“Contemporary Art Exhibitions Can Spark Political Change”
With an ever-growing commercial art market taking a stronghold of our public institutions in Canada and abroad, artist-run, alternative and independent organizations have a more crucial role to play in the production and presentation of politically engaged art reverberating the realities of our time. In the past like the present, the artists who go to the front lines and expose the hard truths and emotions of our world in turmoil are often ignored by the larger and established arts institutions. Are reflective artistic responses more palatable to public institutions than the more visceral, political ones made in the here and now? Can art still challenge the status quo or even incite political change through exhibitions considering how the private sector and governments have increasing influence and control over content? Stefan St-Laurent will speak about recent curatorial and artistic projects Bodies in Trouble, Monuments to the Victims of Liberty: Counter-Proposals in Response to the Memorial to the Victims of Communism and Floe Edge: New Art and Collaborations from Nunavut. He believes contemporary art exhibitions can be transformative and influential, with always a potential of reshaping public discourse and sparking political change.
- Cynthia Bodenhorst
Cynthia Bodenhorst is an Ecuadorian scholar, critic and artist based in Spain. Her early research examines how civil society and artists in Latin America deploy artistic and performative strategies to challenge dominant regimes of power, memory, citizenship, and symbolic representation. Her current work, Mare Nostrum: Art, social forms and aesthetics of sociability at the shores of Europe, continues to investigate mechanisms of globalization and neoliberal colonialism in visual culture and the art world; focusing on how people’s movements, motivated by the shared sense of maintaining collective consciousness, challenge, resist, and create affective and effective spaces for emancipatory politics. Cynthia studied Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts (San Francisco) and holds a degree in Theater and Scenic Arts from the University of Vigo (Spain). She is also a curator and video artist, whose work has been exhibited throughout Latin America, the US and Europe.
“Mare Nostrum: Art, social forms and aesthetics of sociability at the shores of Europe”
Since the late 90’s, Latin America has been the scene of striking new forms of collective action that make use of artistic and performative strategies to challenge the dominant neoliberal regimes of power, citizenship, and symbolic representation. Indeed, neoliberalism is a powerful branding of power through the production of visual culture, with it’s accompanying exhibition economies. Such is the case of relational aesthetics, one of the prodigal sons and refashioned aesthetic weapons of neoliberalism and the experience economy.
Argentine artists and collectives such as the Situations Collective (Colectivo Situaciones), the Popular Silkscreen Workshop (TPS) and the Street Art Group (Grupo de Arte Callejero), just to name a few, are committed to art and culture as an affective and effective realm for social transformation. Their ‘struggles over meanings’ (Wappenstein, 2008) are firmly rooted in the realm of culture and symbolic representation as a means for civil society to organize collectively and resist the dynamics of power. These social actors deploy what I call an aesthetics of sociability, more akin to an aesthetics of the commons, rather than the aesthetic-in-common at play in dominant processes of globalization, neocolonialism, and the moral communalism that characterizes much of today’s cultural industries.
Throughout my presentation, we will look at examples of social actors form Latin America that conceive culture as an affective and effective realm for social transformation, for the exercise of emancipatory politics, and to people’s everyday lives. We will discuss parallels and differences between Argentina’s recent history and the continued and ever more pressing global struggle for freedom, justice and peace. We face lasting and increasing state-violence and war, together with an unprecedented humanitarian crises. These are important realities that we will address in order to discuss collectively the need for an “ethical turn” in art and aesthetic criticism. The timing of this conference with a world wounded with more and more populations under siege and occupied; unemployed, evicted, and forced into migration, imposes that we attend with particular care to art as one of the spaces for the shaping of a radical resistance of the commons; capable of altering the dynamics of capital and war and for the constant safe-guarding of a collective consciousness that imagines and commits to liberation. In this context, the need to think about an aesthetics of sociability is not random, but rather urgent.
- Patrick Lama
Patrick Lama is a Palestinian pianist and composer based in France. He studied Piano and organ with his father Augustine Lama, a composer and organist at the Holy Sepulchre Basilica, Jerusalem. He also studied composition with Henri Dutilleux and conducting with Pierre Dervaux in Paris. He has written many solo piano works, which he has performed across Europe, Scandinavia, and the Middle East and in the USA. He has set many texts from Arab poets for artists including the Iraqi poets Shaker Assayyabe, Chawki Abdelamir, the Syrian poet Adonis and the Palestinian Mahmoud Darwich. Opera Kan’an is one of his most significant works. Completed in 1998 and premiered in Germany in 2000,“Kan’an” was one of the very first operas to be written in the Arabic language.
Opera “Kan’an” is the first opera in literary Arabic language in the history of the region created with a contemporary style. The Ugaritic poems (the libretto) evoke magnificently universal themes with a Mediterranean sensibility, which I wish to share its richness and beauty. They proved eloquently how much this ancient Civilisation still impregnates us. The expression in literary Arabic language serves the texts by respecting his original Semitic accents. A brief history of the Canaanite’s civilisation will be related, as well as a description and analysis of the work, with audio illustrations of some extracts. I will treat too the problematic: modernism and traditions.
- Alexandra Handal
Alexandra Handal is a Berlin-based Palestinian artist, filmmaker and independent researcher, with ties in disparate parts of the world. Handal was raised in Bethlehem’s global diaspora, however since 2004, she lives and works intermittently in Palestine. She holds a practice/theory PhD from the University of the Arts London, UK (2011), for which she was the recipient of the UAL Research Studentship Award, UK (2004). Her interactive web documentary art, Dream Homes Property Consultants (DHPC) received praise in diverse platforms, winning the 2014 Lumen People’s Choice Gold Award (UK) the 2015 Freedom Flowers Foundation Award, Second Prize (Switzerland) and Shortlisted for the 2013 Artraker Award (UK). Forthcoming is her first solo museum exhibition at Museum of Contemporary Art / Museet for Samtidskunst, Roskilde, Denmark (September-December 2016).
‘Redemption Song: Notes on Art and Freedom’
This paper takes its title from the closing song of the album Uprising by Bob Marley and the Wailers. Redemption Song was written by Marley, who was inspired by the 1937 speech, ‘The Work That Has Been Done’ from Jamaican orator and political leader, Marcus Garvey. The legendary lines of the song, ‘Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; None but ourselves can free our minds’ have become a popular liberation anthem of sorts. Like the speech, the song expresses how the journey into emancipation requires, a liberated mind. In this paper, I expand on this idea by exploring the connections between art and freedom. My own experience as a Palestinian artist is shaped by transcontinental and intergenerational displacements across diverse geographies and at times, defining historical junctures. It is from this multiple perspective that I open-up a space to revisit notions of identity and collectivity beyond the nation-state and address the production of knowledge in relation to gender and power. I use the personal essay as a versatile form, which allows me to wander through lived history and philosophical thought, while pausing to reflect on questions that are sparked along the way such as: What is the role of art in society? In times of war and enduring conflicts, what are the responsibilities of the artist? What is meant by the word ‘resistance’ in relationship to art?
- Jamelie Hassan
Jamelie Hassan is a visual artist and activist based in London, Ontario. Since the 1970s she has created a body of work that is intensely driven by international issues in politics and culture. Her installation works are in numerous public collections including Museum London, the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. and the New Museum, NYC. She was awarded Canada’s prestigious Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2001, the Canada Council for the Arts artist in residence at La Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France in 2012 and a senior arts grant from the Ontario Arts Council in 2014. A survey exhibition of her work, Jamelie Hassan: At the Far Edge of Words curated by Melanie Townsend and Scott Watson was jointly organized by Museum London, London, Ontario and the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. Recipient of the “2009 OAAG Best Exhibition of the Year Award”, this survey exhibit toured to seven venues in Canada from 2009 to 2013. In 2014, she created a site-specific installation, Nur in Xi’an China for the library of the Great Mosque of Xi’an.
Orientalism & Ephemera
Orientalism & Ephemera, was a curatorial project which I proposed 10 years ago to Toronto’s artist-run centre, Art Metropole. I borrow this idea of “the decade “ as a significant time period to revisit this project from economist Frédéric Lordon. “The decade”, as he recently wrote in Le Monde Diplomatique “is the pertinent timeframe for political action, the timeframe within which nations judge their living standards and assess the scope for doing something about them.” In 2006, this cultural project offered me an opportunity to present my analysis through cultural ephemera in an artist-run centre in Toronto. As in my previous projects, Orientalism & Ephemera raised questions about what is missing in the dialogue for those of us who have an interest in the politics of culture. Edward Said ’s analysis in his book Orientalism (1979) asked us to question the idea that Orientalism pertained to the Orient alone.
The absence of material from this politics of culture from the focus of the Middle East perspective, in general, in Canadian cultural institutions, until recently, was something that I wanted to explore further – using my own archives and other ephemeral cultural material, such as, souvenirs, pamphlets, postcards, photographs, documents collected over the years from places including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Vienna, Istanbul, Paris, Cairo, Alexandria, Beirut, Baghdad, Barcelona and Jerusalem.
From the perspective of the local or regional place of my production in London, Ontario I have worked to bring this interest in the politics of culture into the larger cosmopolitan circumstances of other cities. As it toured to four other galleries in Canada, artists were invited to add works to the exhibition in each venue and the exhibits were accompanied with public forums, film screenings and a special issue of Vancouver ‘s West Coast Line Journal was dedicated to the project.
- Rana Bishara
Rana Bishara was born in Tarsheha in 1971. She received her Bachelor of Fine Art and Women Studies from Haifa University in 1993, and then completed her Masters in Fine Art on a Fulbright scholarship at the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2003. Between the years 2009-2011, she headed the art department at al Quds University, in Jerusalem.
Bishara is an interdisciplinary artist, working mainly with installation, conceptual and performance art. Her motives and symbols are connected to the memory, identity and heritage of Palestine; entities such as the cactus, olives, thyme/zaatar, hennah, and tar beside many mediums.
“From the Gallery walls to the public space of protest in Occupied Palestine”
In this presentation, I will examine, through my own practice, the role of art as fulfilling an urgent need of self-expression in a society who suffers colonial oppression. I will reflect on how performing in the street especially in public protests can shed light on key issues of our struggle such as the prisoners, land grab, and the daily violence of the occupation.
My first form of resistance was painting with the forbidden four colors of the Palestinian flag in the early 1980’s. I was 13 and wanted to challenge Israel’s banning and I created my first oil painting. Two years earlier I had marched in my village of Tarsheha at the symbolic funeral at the same day of Sabra and Shatila massacre that stained my memory forever. Now, 30 years later I had the opportunity to design and create the Sabra and Shatila monument for the 30’s anniversary of the massacre. Growing up in Galilee and experiencing the Lebanese war and learning the facts about Nakba and the history of my family’s dispossession yet was another tipping point that stayed in my memory until I moved to live in the Jerusalem area and the West Bank. There, my two realities of life have torn me apart and given me the urgent need to make sense of my life. In recent years, I have started to express and bind the two realities of my childhood memory and the recent reality of living under a direct military occupation. With these two experiences, I also integrate my experiences learning the horrible facts about the Gaza siege and repetitive wars. Living and witnessing such realities under direct and indirect occupation has transformed my artwork into direct and immediate expression of the daily reality. In my work, I have addressed the three Gaza wars of the last decade and land confiscation and daily destruction and the effect of the apartheid wall on our daily life. All of this has left us desperate for a normal life and longing for peace. I will be presenting some examples of my work including, Koffyah for Prisoners Dress, performance, Cross with Bombs, Performance, Palestinian Martyrs Shroud – Palestine Marathon 2016, and Naji Al Ali, Symbolic Return to his Village Al Shajarah among other works.
- Liana Bader
Liana Bader is a Palestinian author and film producer born in Jerusalem and currently lives in Ramallah. She tudied Philosophy and Psychology and obtained her MA degree in Contemporary Arabic Studies. Her writings were translated into many languages and she produced award- winning documentary films in international festivals.
Among her novels: “a Compass for the Sunflower”, “The Eye of the Mirror”, “Jericho Stars” and “A Balcony over the Fakihani”. She also has four collections of short stories, a book about the poet Fadwa Tuqan, and another book about the impact of place on the identity in the works of Mahmoud Darwish, in addition to two collections of poetic texts and ten children books.
الفن والمقاومة في أعمال عصام بدر
عصام بدر فنان فلسطيني من مواليد عام 1948 في الخليل درس الفن في كلية الفنون الجميلة في بغداد -العراق وكان يعتبر أن أستاذه المميز هو جواد سليم . تخرج من أكاديمية تيبليسي للفنون ماجستير خزف 1982 . وهو من مؤسسي رابطة الفنانين التشكيليين في الضفة والقطاع .
تمرد عصام بدر الفنان على زمن العلاقات العامة حيث الفن يستعرض نفسه حسب الغرابة ومنطق الادهاش الشامل قبل أن يكون به محتوى يعبر عن المتفرج أو الأرض . ورسم الأرض كما يراها مستعيناً بالزيت أو الخزف ، وصورها طبقات طبقات في السبعينات والثمانينات تلك المرحلة التي كانت فيها فنانة أخرى هي سامية حلبي تقوم فيها برسم الفضاء بأشكال سوريالية . فكأن المفارقة أنه كان يرسم التفاصيل الصغيرة التي يراها ساكن الأرض فيما هي ترسم أشواقها الوجودية الى الأرض عبر منفى شاسع .كان عصام بدر من أوائل الفنانين الذين عملوا على رصد الاحتلال وتبيان وجوده البشع في حياة الفلسطينيين واشتهرت في فترة ما وعلى نطاق شعبي لوحة له ترسم حصاناً متمرداً يعصي كائن يحاول أن يسوقه حسب هواه .ويصفه شاكر فريد حسن”عصام بدر فنان فلسطيني مرهف الاحساس ، ومن اعلام الحركة الفنية التشكيلية الفلسطينية تحت الاحتلال.الوان لوحاته متناسقة وتعكس ارتباطه بالارض وايمانه بالانسان والتزامه بهمومه وآلامه وآماله.
والفن بالنسبة له تعبير عن الذات الفلسطينية وموقف سياسي وفكري ازاء الظلم والقهر الطبقي الذي يعيشه شعبه في ظل الاحتلال البغيض.”
- Samar Ghattas
Samar Ghattas is a Palestinian visual artist based in Bethlehem. She holds an MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts in Kiev, Ukraine. Her work includes watercolor paintings, mixed media, ink, iconography, ceramic, and digital media. Her work was exhibited in various exhibitions through Palestine, Europe, and the U.S. As one of the prominent Palestinian woman artists, Ghattas is able to merge the Palestinian culture and its social issues, her personal experience and vision into her art. Her main goal is to represent the rich and diverse Palestinian life with all its dimensions.
“Graffiti as Resistance Art in Palestine”
This presentation explores graffiti as a from of civil resistance against the Israeli occupation. I will focus on the development of graffiti art as a way of expression, and on the changes it has in methods and forms, during and after the First Intifada. I argue that graffiti art plays an important role in expressing the Palestinian struggle against the Occupation as well as reflecting aspiration for freedom and justice. Questions that this paper addresses include: can graffiti be considered a form of resistance and why Palestinians use it? What are the similarities and differences in concept and style between Palestinian and Western graffiti? I will address these questions through showing different Palestinian graffiti artworks from different time periods and locations. As well as, showing works by international graffiti artists such as Banksy. I will shed light on well-known sites for this form of art including the Apartheid Wall in Palestine and Berlin Wall in Germany.
- Ron Benner
Ron Benner is an internationally recognized artist, gardener, and activist based in London, Ontario. Drawing on his extensive travels and polymath learning, his unique multimedia garden art practice is notably dedicated to the ecology and political economy of the movement of plants, food, farming, and industrial agriculture on local and global scales. These installations and their concerns are explored in his book, Gardens of a Colonial Present (Museum London 2008). His works are in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the University of Toronto, the University of Western Ontario, Museum London, the Canada Council Art Bank, and the Casa de Las Americas in Havana, Cuba.
” All That Has Value”
This presentation draws its title from one of my photographic/garden installations, originally installed at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre from 1993-2004, then relocated to the grounds of a heritage site in London, Ontario until 2014. These words are themselves transported from a Mexican response to the Spanish Conquest in 1521—“All that has value… was then counted as nothing”—words that register the countless, often violent changes and migrations of value-laden things—e.g. silver for coinage, corn for food, people for labour—that remain embedded as social and symbolic information in what we consume. I aim to show how these connections are expressed in “All That Has Value” and my other multimedia planting installations, including three guerilla gardens created with the collaboration of local activists, CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) and home owners in the campaign in protest to the former conservative government of Canada’s plans to privatize the postal system – the campaign was “Save door-to-door; Save Canada Post.”
- Rana Batrawi
Rana Batrawi is a Palestinian artist and art educator based in Gaza, Palestine. She holds a BA in Art Education from the University of Al-Aqsa in Gaza. She works mainly with sculpture and mixed media. Her work concerns with the social and psychological aspects of life in Palestine and the effect of the occupation on the bodies and minds of the Palestinians. Her work was exhibited in Palestine, as well as in the US and Turkey. She has participated in the longest sculpted mural in Palestine (70 meter Palestine Panorama). She represented Palestine in the Femin& Art International Female Artists held in Turkey. Batrawi is a recipient of several awards.
“The Artist as Eyewitness”
- Nabil Alraee
مسرح الحريه: عشر سنوات من المقاومة الثقافية, (Freedom Theatre: Ten Years of Cultural Resistance”
The concept of research is much more beautiful than the findings or results of the research itself. The research concept is of crucial importance. However, we are facing a different case regarding the definition of the cultural resistance concept knowing that the title had been found before the existence of the method. We have always done our work properly throughout the previous years. It has been difficult to us to define this wide, exciting title. Moreover, we used to indulge in fierce processes to interpret and define the aspects related to the concept of cultural resistance. We have been working nonstop at The Freedom Theatre for ten years. Our work included artistic, cultural aspects in detail, and the results were lifelike and real in essence.
- Abdelfattah Abusrour
Abdelfattah Abusrour is an artist, writer, actor and director from Bethlehem. With Naomi Wallace and Lisa Schlesinger, he co-wrote 21 Positions. He has written, adapted or performed in many plays produced in France and Palestine, and other plays toured internationally. Abusrour has a PhD in Biological and Medical Engineering, from France, in 1993. He was recipient of the first Ashoka fellowship in Palestine in 2006, and recipient of Synergos social innovator award in 2011. In 1998, he co-founded the Alrowwad Cultural and Theatre Center for Children, in the Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem. Abusrour was elected President of Palestinian Theatre League (2009-2013). He served on the board of many organizations and was member of the advisory national team for the Cultural strategic planning 2011-2013, and the consulting committee for the Ministry of Culture in Bethlehem, and the Secretary of the preparation committee for Bethlehem as Capital of Arab Culture in 2020. In 2015, His play “Handala” as well as the play “Twenty-One position” co-written with Naomi Wallace and Lisa Schlesinger was published in the United States.
“Alrowwad’s Beautiful Resistance”
Pioneers in the cinema and photography in the Arab world, and women liberation movement, and non-armed struggle, Palestinians have given a lot of examples to present their cause to the world, and defend their identity and humanity despite the ethnic cleansing and the continuous dehumanization and Zionist propaganda to erase our identity and narrative.
As a Palestinian born in Aida refugee camp, and saw the tears and pain in my parents eyes, and in every breath and word they had… As a refugee who was given a scholarship to continue his studies and get his PhD, and coming back after 9 years in France, thinking that Palestine was only waiting for him to save it… as a human being who value life, and the future of the generations to come, I was founder of what I call “Beautiful Resistance’, with establishing Alrowwad Cultural and Theatre Training Center in 1998, starting with Theatre as one of the most amazing, powerful, civilized, truthful and non-politically correct ways to express oneself, and build peace within individuals to be promoters of peace in the world. Adding other artistic disciplines including painting, music, singing, dance, photography and video, education and other artistic means for children to be able to tell their stories and their individual narrative and live for Palestine rather than thinking that the only way is to die for their country.
In my presentation, I will be discussing the Beautiful Resistance concept and philosophy and impact that it creates for the children and youth. And the work of Alrowwad with children in a context of life and resistance in a spirit of social entrepreneurship and building a better future for the generations to come.
- Sameh Hijaz سامح حجازي
سامح حجازي مخرج مسرحي متفرغ
من مواليد نابلس 1961 جاصل على درجة الماجستير من المعهد العالي للعلوم المسرحية Hans Otto في مدينة لايبزيج Leipzig في ألمانيا.عمل في العديد من المسارح الألمانية كما العديد من المسارح والمؤسسات المسرحية الفلسطينية. أخرج العديد من المسرحيات في فلسطين التاريخية.. مسرحياته حازت على العديد من الجوائز كما هو.
(Arabic) المسرح كأداة للتغيير والمقاومة” “ (Theater as a Medium for Resistance and Change)
عندما قال برنادشو ان المسرح هو كنيسة القرن العشرين، لم يكن يبحث عن استعارة متألقة يبهر بها عيون قرائه ولاشيء بعد هذا. وعندما سعى (برشت) الى تحويل رواد المسرح من مجرد متفرجين يتتبعون احداث المسرحية الى قضاة يحكمون على هذه الاحداث لم يكن يجري وراء التجديد وحسب.. وعندما وضع (لوركا) اذنه على قلب اسبانيا يتسمع نبضاته ثم يصوغها فناً ادبياً رائعاً.. لم يكن يتطلع الى (بعد) ادبي او سياسي يضع اسمه في الاخبار.. انما صور هؤلاء الثلاثة الكبار ما املته عليهم تجربتهم في المسرح وهو الصق العنوان بالحياة. وان الطريق لتغيير المجتمع والناس يمر حتماً بالمسرح ولايمكن ان يتخطاه.
- Rania Jawad
Rania Jawad is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English Literature at Birzeit University. She is currently working on a book that addresses theatre and performance politics in the settler colonial context of Palestine. Her most recent work addresses institutionalization processes within the Palestinian cultural sphere in relation to the production of gender and representation.
“The Palestinian Museum: Reflections and Questions”
This presentation focuses on the upcoming opening of the Palestinian Museum, the largest museum project in Palestine with regards to scale, resources, and reach. Offering a brief reflection on its place within the contemporary Palestinian cultural sphere, on the one hand, and within Palestine’s relationship to global struggles against colonialism and racism, on the other, I will raise a number of questions for discussion among participants. Together we will reflect on the interventions and implications of the Palestinian Museum, a highly-invested in project (still in-the-making) that speaks to questions of cultural institutions, knowledge production, and a museum public in a settler colonial context.
- Jeff O’Brien
Jeff O’Brien is a PhD student in art history & visual culture at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Some recent publications include “The Taste of Sand in the Mouth: 1939 and ‘Degenerate’ Egyptian Art” in Critical Interventions 9 no.1 (2015), a co-authored entry on art critic Clement Greenberg for Oxford Annotated Bibliographies (2015), and a review of Gil Z. Hochberg’s “Visual Occupations: Violence and Visibility in a Conflict Zone” in Prefix 32 (2015).
“Make Room: The Destructive Archive”
“The destructive character sees nothing permanent. But for this very reason he sees ways everywhere. Where others encounter walls or mountains, there, too, he sees a way. But because he sees a way everywhere, he has to clear things from it everywhere. Not always by brute force; sometimes by the most refined. Because he sees ways everywhere, he always stands at a crossroads. No moment can know what the next will bring. What exists he reduces to rubble-not for the sake of the rubble, but for that of the way leading through it.” Walter Benjamin, “The Destructive Character” (1931)
In this talk, I wish to consider the notion of the destructive archive as formed in the work of Lebanese artists Akram Zaatari, Walid Raad and others. This anomic (an)archive refuses to participate in what Allan Sekula termed the ‘shadow archive’—an inclusive archive that looms over all archives, connecting and ordering seemingly disparate strands into a cohesive social whole. Instead, the destructive archive, as conceptualized here, operates as allegory, engages with the imagination of possible histories denied by the shadow archive and pushes forth towards a history of the minor, not the major. These archives introduce a historiography that attempts to account for the missing and the disappeared of Lebanon’s civil war(s), including the silences and the absences otherwise excavated from the amnesia of the present. By casting a light on the shadow archive and illuminating the very impossibility of a single, cohesive, ordered history, these practices attempt to represent the disappeared as a presence, here and not elsewhere.
- نصر جوابرة Naser Jawabri
نصر جوابرة ولد في بيت لحم عام 1974.درس الفنونَ الجميلة في أكاديمية الفنون الجميلة في جامعة بغداد، حيث حصل على درجتي البكالوريوس 1998 والماجستير في التصوير الزيتي عام 2001،حصل على بعثة علمية من الخارجية الاسبانية عام 2008اكمل خلالها الدبلومة الاوروبية المتقدمة في الفنون المعاصرة عام 2010من ثم درجة الدكتوراة في فلسفة فنون ما بعد الحداثة عام 2013 ,يعمل الان محاضرا في جامعة بوليتكنك فلسطين ,وقد عمل سابقا كمحاضر في العديد من المؤسسات الاكاديمية داخل فلسطين –اهمها كمحاضر متفرغ في دائرة الفنون الجميلة – جامعة القدس –ابوديس منذ عام 2003-2008 وفي كلية فلسطين التقنية عام 2002-2003,وكمحاضر غير متفرغ في جامعة البوليتيكنيك في الخليل منذ العام 2005-2008، ومشرفاً أكاديميا في جامعة القدس المفتوحة منذ العام 2002-2008 وكلية دار الندوة الدولية في بيت لحم -2006-2008. وجامعة بيت لحم 2015-2016,له ثلاثة معارض سخصية هما “ذاكرة ” عام 2007-على قاعة مؤسسة عبد المحسن القطان –رام اللة –فلسطين,ومعرض “انتظار” عام 2012 على قاعة مؤسسة (الاوروعربي) –في اسبانيا ومعرض “حلم راشيل” عام 2015علي قاعة “الارت لاب” في مدينة القدس كما شارك في العديد من المعارض الجماعية، في فلسطين، العراق ,الجزائر, قطر, سوريا، اسبانيا,. قام بعدة ندوات فكرية وجوارية حول الفنون البصرية ,وهو علاوة على ممارسته الرسم، يكتب في النقد الفني والدراسات الجمالية وله مقالات في عدة صحف ومجلات محلية وعربية ونشر دراسة في كتاب بعنوان البنية الفكرية للفن المعاصر في فلسطين. في عام 2005والان بصدد نشر دراسة في كتاب حول فلسفة الفنون المعاصرة
(Arabic) “ فاعلية خطاب فنون ما بعد الحداثة للتعبير عن القضية الفلسطينية” (The Post-Modern Discourse and Representation of the Palestinian Question)
تتناول المحاضرة مقدمة عامة حول فنون ما بعد الحداثة واهم اتجاهاتها واشكال تمظهراتها الشكلية والمادية والادائية ,وتوضيح اهم الانزياحات الفكرية في تلك الاتجاهات عن فنون الحداثة (وبشكل خاص اللوحة التقليدية )وصولا الي اهم الاستراتيجيات التي تتاسس عليها هذه الفنون لايصال المعني والمضامين الفكرية بوصفها غاية تلك الفنون وجوهر وجودها ,من ثم تطبيق تلك المقدمة علي عينات منتخبة من الفن الفلسطيني المعاصر بشقيه اللوحة التقليدية وتجارب مقاربة لفنون ما بعد الحداثة بهدف الوصول الي رؤية فكرية وتحليلية تكشف عن فاعلية خطاب تجارب ما بعد حداثية فلسطينية وتوضيح اهم الخصائص التي تمنحها الحضوروالفاعلية بصورة اكثر من اللوحة التقليدية في بعض التجارب للتعبير عن مقاومة الاحتلال وللتعبير عن مفاصل ومحاور الصراع الفلسطيني الصهيوني عموما . ا
- Adila Laïdi-Hanieh
Biography: Dr. Adila Laïdi-Hanieh is a scholar and writer focusing on Palestinian culture, visual arts, and critical theory. Laïdi-Hanieh published in 2008 “Palestine. Rien ne nous Manque ici,” the first cultural review of contemporary Palestine, featuring original texts and art works by Mahmoud Darwish, Mona Hatoum, John Berger, etc. She previously taught modern and contemporary Arab thought at Birzeit University as well as the first course on contemporary Palestinian Arts.
Laïdi-Hanieh was the founding director of the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre from 1996 to 2005 where she curated the internationally touring memorial exhibition “100 Shaheed-100 Lives” in 2001-2003. She has a PhD in cultural studies from George Mason University.
“Contemporary Palestinian Art’s New Resistance Politics of Proximity and Estrangement”
This paper interrogates the empirically observable shift in Palestinian visual art practices after the 1993 interim Oslo peace accords: Away from the trope of a grand narrative of loss redeemed by struggle, to contemporary representations of the grim positivity of the protean and quotidian deployment of Israeli occupation. This paper’s research question centers on the hermeneutics of the shift in visual arts’ political claim making.
The paper’s principal argument is that contemporary practices largely continue to mobilize a representational regime of art that instrumentalizes a political pedagogy. This argument is based on two claims: First, while contemporary artists have built an esthetically and politically innovative and diverse corpus, it is one that often bypasses Palestinian audiences, and paradoxically risks banalizing the occupation by its construction of a new consensual mode of apprehension of Palestinians. Second, as I argue for the indeterminacy of art’s political pedagogies and effects, I analyze alternative practices that effect a politically dissenssual thwarting of expectations.
I present two main conceptual contributions: First, I offer strategies of representations’ based analysis, and I challenge the uncritical appreciation of the conceptual shift and globalized orientation of Palestinian art.
I present my findings across five sections: First, a brief review of the theoretical proposals that structure this research, a brief overview of the historical development of visual arts praxis until the mid-1990s, a discussion of Post-Oslo visual arts’ empirical shifts, and a survey and analysis of contemporary Palestinian art’s principal thematics, styles, approaches and media. The paper ends with an exposition of alternative resistant artistic articulations. My conference presentation will focus on the latter two sections: identifying and differentiating between two contemporary trends: A majority artistic praxis that constructs a new consensual mode of apprehension of Palestinians, and the Identification and analysis of innovative and alternative works that enact a position of artistic resistance.
- Hervé Trioreau
(artist / professor-researcher at the École Nationale Supérieure d’Art de Bourges, France / http://www.ensa-bourges.fr). Born in 1974, Hervé Trioreau, laureate of the Villa Médicis Hors-les-Murs in 2003 (Hong Kong, China), has taught at the Énsa Bourges since 2004. Since 1995, Hervé Trioreau (TTrioreau) has been interested in architecture and urban space which he employs in order to deconstruct. His projects confound systems of representations, produce cuttings and thus highlight certain architectural elements, an ensemble of operations that disrupts perception.
TTrioreau develops a work of disturbance of architectural certitudes, evoking a process of deconstruction, an archeological approach to an architectural unconscious. His projects conceptualize architecture as a polemic process. In a methodical dismemberment of ideals linked to modern space, they interrogate our confidence in the structural solidity of the building, in its immobility and its permanence, to describe it as interval, passage, transition…
Until 2000, TTrioreau worked will Vincent Protat (protaTTrioreau) and since 2000, currently runs his projects alone: in 2001 at the gallery of l’Énsa, La Box, as well as the gallery of the cloister of the École des Beaux-Arts de Rennes (The Sarajevo Holiday Inn On Fire) and, more recently, at the Centre d’Art Contemporain du Fort du Bruissin (Spacificity, In Search of the Disappearance of the Miraculous), at the Frac des Pays de la Loire (Fragmentations – Trajectoires contre-nature) and lastly at the Frac Bretagne (Desquamated Space) and in 2013, at the Biennale of Design of Saint-Étienne (In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.), at the Frac des Pays de la Loire (De belles sculptures contemporaines, En Suspension) and at the Chalet Society (At The Audience: “My Friend Dreamed Of Me As A Serial Killer”)… Next exhibition (2016-2018): At The Audience: “Towards The Development Of A Cinema Cavern Or The Movie Goer As Spelunker”. http://tt.rioreau.free.fr. http://www.facebook.com/herve.trioreau
Here and Elsewhere: Context as Content: Towards The Development of a Conceptual Deconstruction
“Art always was, and is, a force of protest of the humane against the pressure of domineering institutions.”
Theodor W. Adorno, “Theses upon Art and Religion Today”
Space is not a passive geographical location or an empty geometric milieu: space is instrumental, it is lived space at the same time that it is space in which strategies that engender redefinitions of territory unfold and confront one another.
Through different contents of artistic proposals, like those of Michael Asher in particular, we will try to demonstrate that interventions, as “infra-mince” and conceptual as they are, inside the context of an occupied territory, where violence, colonialism, political, social and cultural confinement are daily reality, could be a real artistic strategy of deconstruction.
As an “institutionnal critique”, Michael Asher’s work capture the form of “subtle yet deliberate interventions – additions, subtractions or alterations – in particular environments.” His projects, always site-specific, take the procedure of approaching a site and using “just elements which already existed without a great modification to the space” through all its possible permutations: a radical disarticulation of the ideology and history of an institution, a space, a territory, a state…
What reflexive and creative practices accompany these questions? What remains, as it were, of experiments of subjective appropriations of spaces or of their interstices? Can we maintain a space, a place, an “in-between” or a “non-place” by doing something other than living or working in it? What is an artistic “gesture” in a territory in constant movement? Here are some of the questions in progress which will accompany this conference…
- b.h. Yael
b.h. Yael is a Toronto based video and installation artist. She is Professor of Integrated Media at OCAD University and currently Chair of Senate. Yael’s work has exhibited nationally and internationally and has shown in various settings, from festivals to galleries to community and activist groups and various educational venues. Her work has been purchased by many universities and she is a recipient of numerous arts grants including the Chalmers Fellowship award.
Yael’s work has dealt with the many intersections of identity; it has focused on activist initiatives in Palestine and Israel; and more recently addressed apocalypse and environmental issues. Works include: Fresh Blood, A Consideration of Belonging; In the Middle of the Street; Palestine Trilogy; and Trading the Future, which won the ‘Audience Award’ at the Ecofilms festival in Rhodes, Greece. Yael is currently working on a Canada Council funded video project, Lessons for Polygamists, which incorporates animation elements into a collage aesthetic.
At the intersections of autobiography and politics
Transnationalism, activism and art practice converge at the intersection of autobiography and politics. This presentation will address questions of belonging and Arab Jewish identifications, historical narratives and representations such as the massacre at Deir Yassin, and will address issues of audience.
- Eman Haram
Born (1958) in Damascus, Syria to Palestinian parents from Haifa, Eman Haram is an interdisciplinary artist of multiple identities and places of belonging. She grew in Beirut, Lebanon, and later moved to the United states, where she studied and worked for two decades in the design profession. Haram holds a B.Sc. in Architecture from New York Institute of Technology and M.A in Art History from the University of South Florida, and currently lives between Montreal and Amman. Her works explores the existential predicaments resulting from the unspeakable violence of the colonial structures of dispossession. Her work,photography/ performance has been presented at Contemporary Istanbul, Jordan National Gallery of Fine Art, Casa Arabe Madrid, Aleppo’s 8th. International Women’s festival, and Oboro New Media Lab , and the Darling Foundry in Montreal, and recently subject of study in Najat Rahman’s book “ In the Wake of the Poetic: Palestinian Artists After Darwish”. Haram is a member and works from Atelier Circulaire, one of the oldest print studios in Montreal.
Towards A Poetic Articulation of a besieged motherland.
Reflecting on Palestine from a place of exile, necessitates contemplating the bruised and unattainable motherland, as a poetic condition with infinite and inexhaustible geographies. Expanding the reading and articulation of Palestine beyond the besieged land, is one way of emancipating it from the violence of the colonial apparatus and its interminable siege. Every new reading, becomes a means of subverting a the zionist project, that has no place for the other.
- Suheyla Takesh
Suheyla Takesh is a curator of Barjeel Art Foundation’s collection of modern and contemporary Arab art. Under the umbrella of the Foundation, she worked on exhibitions at the Maraya Art Centre in Sharjah, the Contemporary Art Platform in Kuwait, the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, and most recently curated an exhibition at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto entitled Home Ground.
“Memory as Medium”
Attempting to retain narratives in the collective memory of a community can be a precarious exercise, one which requires significant resources to initiate, and the effect of which may only become perceptible with time. In her presentation, Suheyla Takesh will examine ways in which a conscious act of remembering can serve as a mode of defiance, and explore its particular pertinence to second-generation Palestinians born in diaspora. Drawing on her work as a curator, Takesh will discuss ways in which visual art, as well as works of fiction, can be instrumental in safeguarding historic narratives and in working against the gradual erasure and dispossession of identities.
- Samer Al-Saber
Samer Al-Saber works as assistant professor of theatre at Florida State University. Most recently, he held a position as a Mellon postdoctoral fellow at Davidson College. He has a PhD in Theatre History, Theory, and Criticism from the University of Washington, an MFA in Directing from the University of Calgary, and a B.A. from the University of Ottawa. As a director and creative artist, he worked in Canada, Australia, and the Middle East. His first monograph will bear the title Permission to Perform: Palestinian Theatre in Jerusalem (1967-1993). His scholarly interests include Middle Eastern theatre, politics, and Culture as well as the Euro-American theatre from the Greeks to the present.
- “Parallel Histories, “Jerusalem and Performance Since 1967”
Since 1967, Jerusalemite theatre and performance cultures have undergone a series of radical changes that evolved with prevailing cultures of resistance in the city. In the 1970s, the spirit of collective creation dominated as the primary modus operandi. The 1980s witnessed the systematic institutionalization of theatre groups and the popularizing of international touring of local productions. In the post-Oslo period, the heavy influx of foreign money and the development of an NGO culture created a dependence on coproducers primarily from Europe, but also from the United States and the Far-East. In this paper, I will survey the historical relationship between Jerusalem and Performance cultures from 1967 until today. With each decade, Jerusalemite artists responded to changes on the ground and engaged with local and international communities to ensure the survival of their creative professions. While outlining the political struggles, I explain the techniques artists and troupes employed in each period. For example, after the emergence of a leadership vacuum in the aftermath of the 1967 war, local communities coalesced to lead the way for a Jerusalemite cultural spring in the seventies. Voluntary work camps paved the way for theatrical communities, which collectively created original indigenous plays. While building their own institutional and financial capacities in the 1980s, Jerusalemite artists also circumvented the dominant system of censorship by coding their scripts and performing in private schools. In the 1990s, the proliferation of international aid led the artists to establish their own NGO-type of establishments in order to apply for international grants. In recent years, a return to grassroots approaches has marked a new era of cultural production in various performance fields, such as theatre, music, and dance. Each stage in the development of Jerusalemite cultural production suggests a parallel timeline that reflects ongoing political crises in the city.
- John Halaka
As a visual artist working with the media of drawing, photography, documentary film and painting, John Halaka’s artwork investigates cycles of repression and displacement, as well as the personal and political relationships between desire, denial and instability. One of the objectives of his creative practice is to firmly place the experiences of Palestinian displacement in the international discourse on human rights, forced migration and the right of return of all indigenous refugees.
John Halaka is a Visual Artist and Professor of Visual Arts at the University of San Diego, where he has taught since 1991. He received his MFA in the Visual Arts from the University of Houston in 1983, and his B.A. in Fine Arts from the City University of New York Baccalaureate Program, with Brooklyn College as home school. Halaka’s Artwork has been exhibited and his films have been screened nationally and internationally. John Halaka is the recipient of a Fulbright Research Fellowship that enabled him to develop the second phase of the project Portraits of Denial & Desire in Lebanon.
A selection of Halaka’s paintings, drawings and photographs can be viewed on his art web site www.johnhalaka.com. Information about his film projects and archives of video interviews can be found on his film web site www.sittingcrowproductions.
Memory as Resistance: The Narratives of Palestinian Survivors.
The Native American scholar Gerald Vizenor coined the term SURVIVANCE to describe the creative resilience of the indigenous people of the Americas against cultural and physical genocide. The expression SURVIVANCE identifies the inseparable relationship between the experiences of survival and resistance by combining those two words into one. The practice of Indigenous survivance creatively employs memories; personal and communal stories as well as tales of ancient customs and evolving traditions, to convey a living and evolving culture that refuses to disappear in the face of genocidal pressures.
The concept of Survivance applies fully to the struggle of the Palestinians as well as to other indigenous populations battling colonial repression. I will present examples from my project Portraits of Desire & Denial, and discuss the role of memory in the Palestinian culture of survivance. My objectives for this multi-disciplinary project has been to record, preserve and present the personal narratives and life forming experiences of three generations of Palestinian men and women who experienced the agonies of exiles and the horrors of occupation.
- Johan Widén
Johan Widén, artist, former professor at Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. Lives and works in Sweden. Is currently working on a project, together with Ylva Gislén, out from the novel “Jerusalem” (1901-02) by the Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf (1858-1940); an examination of how the proximity between the magical and the documentary narrative can deepen the understanding of the same location today. How painting as an abstract narrative form next to the literary text can be stretched and recomposed to retell and understand crucial contemporary political events.
How to stand?
During the last decade/decades the idea of “resistance” has taken a drastic turn in Europe, the Western world – and not the least in Sweden. The word “resistance” used to signal radicalism; emancipation, solidarity, movements against colonial oppression, a search for a new, often utopian, economical and social order, etc. Today we are witnessing how resistance has become the opposite; politics of closed doors, closed borders, narrow-minded nationalism trying to resist anything “foreign”, lack of solidarity with refugees trying to find shelter and safety as they flee from their war-ridden countries… In my presentation I will try to discuss contemporary art practice in relation to this change…
- Faten Nastas-Mitwasi
Faten Nastas-Mitwasi is a Palestinian artist, educator, and scholar based in Bethlehem. Her father Fawzy Nastas who is a prolific sculptor inspired her artistic journey. She holds an MFA from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. Nastas-Mitwasi was a key person in developing and establishing the Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture, where she is presently the chairperson of the Visual Arts department. She is the author of two books: Sliman Mansour (2008) and Reflections of Palestinian Art: Art of Resistance or Aesthetics (2015).
In her artwork, Nastas-Mitwasi utilizes both handmade and ready-made. She incorporates texts, calligraphy, and delicate pieces involving embroidery, ceramic and crafted paper, as well as photographs, audio, and video. Driven from the politically unsettled environment in Palestine, her art reflects the social, emotional, and psychological concerns of the Palestinian people. Themes she explored in her art include home, identity, and space fragmentation. Her works have been exhibited locally and internationally, including in the United States, Sweden, Scotland, Germany, and Japan.
“Resistance Art via Christianity Tradition and Symbols in Palestine”
Even before the glory of the Arab National Awakening, there were some Palestinian artists who began experimenting in their work highlighting their national belonging and producing local art. It started during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when a special style of icon painting was developed in Jerusalem which became known as the “Jerusalem School for Icon Painting.” The icons of this School do not resemble Byzantine icons or Russian icons. Instead, they have their own unique characteristics and style. Besides, the iconographers started writing in Arabic on the icons and signing their icons with their first name usually appended by “al-Qudsi,” meaning the Jerusalemite.
Later, by beginning of the nineteenth century, Nicola Saig, was able to free himself 100% from the tradition of church art, and was painting biblical scenes in a complete local contexts. His art is local art par excellence. There was still not a “Palestinian awareness” per say, but, what was important is the Arab Nationality.
However, especially after Naksa, artists became more alert about their Palestinian identity and their focus was directed to resistance for the sake of liberating Palestine. Artists, both Christians and Muslims continued using Christian traditions, stories, motives, and symbols in their work. I will be showing slides and explaining the context and meaning for each art work.
Born in the UK in 1962 and a graduate in theology from Oxford University, Ian Knowles is the founder and director of the Bethlehem Icon Centre and its Icon School in Bethlehem, Palestine. Operating under the auspices of the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch he is committed to the renovation of Christian iconography as a living art among all the various Christians of Palestine and beyond. He is also a professional iconographer in his own right, with commissioned work in churches, shrines and private collections around the world. He is also the author of the icon of Our Lady Who Brings Down Walls, painted on the separation wall and which has become a centre for prayer and reflection for many millions of people from around the world reflecting on the situation facing Christians in the Middle East, and in Palestine in particular. He has been present in the Holy Land since 2008.
“The Icon of Our Lady Who Brings Down: Walls – Culture, Art and the survival of Christians in in the Middle East”
- FREDERIK DUERINCK
Frederik Duerinck (NL, 1976) is a filmmaker and artist located in Breda. He is lead designer of the Award winning multi sensory installation Famous Deaths and is co-author of the book Sense of Smell. His documentary ‘End of Europe’ won the media art festival in 2003. Frederik is a member of the cross media group Polymorf. In his work Duerinck researches the boundaries of conventional storytelling, creating embodied narratives. Besides his career as filmmaker and artist, Duerinck is coordinator of the Communications and Multimedia Design program in Breda (CMD-Breda). He is also co- founder of the CMD Netlab.