A.M. Qattan Foundation and El-Funoun Popular Dance Troupe Open the exhibition ‘From the Archive Room’
Ramallah- (A.M. Qattan Foundation)
Sunday, 4 August- El-Funoun Troupe and A.M. Qattan Foundation opened today the art exhibition ‘From the Archive Room’ which will be open to public until the fourth of October 2019 at A.M. Qattan Foundation in Ramallah as part of El-Funoun’s celebration of its 40th anniversary.
The public, families and members of El-Funoun Troupe and A.M. Qattan Foundation attended the opening. Fida Touma, director general of Qattan Foundation, welcomed the audience, pointing to the importance of the exhibition and the partnership with el-Funoun. Touma thanked El-Funoun for opening their archives for the first time since its establishment, as an exclusive opportunity for Qattan Foundation. Touma added that the exhibition was part of a series of exhibitions organised by the Foundation on an annual basis to contribute, alongside the other cultural organisations, towards establishing an alternative knowledge base that supports the fine-tuning of ‘our identity culturally, socially, and politically.’
In his turn, Jamal Haddad, the chairperson of El-Funoun’s board of directors, welcomed the audience and reiterated the importance of the partnership. Haddad added that the decision to transfer the archives was not an easy one, especially that it was presented to the public for the first time. Many of the Troup’s members themselves were never exposed to the archives prior to the exhibition, thus making it a unique new experience for El-Funoun. In his remarks, Haddad mentioned Hafez Omar, a member of the troupe, who was arrested while preparing for the exhibition.
The curator of the exhibition Yazid Anani, said that the exhibition’s concept constituted a precedent since it is not easy for one party to entrust another party, other than the person who has custody over the archives, with the right to rearrange, reconstruct, and reproduce the archival materials, through a process of artistic selection and presentation, or to allow technology to re-position the archives and their physical manifestations, or the right to borrow from the archives and put it on display.
It is noteworthy that the concept of the exhibition started as a comparative process to examine the policies of the body in Palestine through the history of El-Funoun and ended up with a lengthy and in-depth process of exploration of El-Funoun’s archives from 1979 to date including a large percentage of the Troupe’s members, old and new, with their experiences and stories. Additionally, the process examined the formation of the Troupe’s archival materials, the thinking process that evolved and took shape within the context of a society that is occupied, imprisoned, and displaced. The exploration of the archives included the opening of some old cases, sometimes painful ones, that give insights into some of the difficult stages in the history of El-Funoun. Through the individual and collective oral stories, the process transformed into an opportunity for collective reflection, through the archives, on changes in terms of the value-system and politics of the Palestinian society. The exhibition aims at opening the archives of El-Funoun troupe and focusing on the engagement of the troupe and its members with the Palestinian cultural, social, and political scene.
The exhibition will be open to the public until 4 October 2019, all days from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, except Fridays and Sunday.