Exhibition Opening: "Palestine from Above"
The A.M. Qattan Foundation (AMQF) inaugurates its newest exhibition “Palestine from Above” on Saturday, September 11, 2021. The exhibition that showcases contemporary art works by local and international artists and practitioners, displays also archival and historical materials. It comes as a culmination of a collaborative research project, also called “Palestine from Above”, and is curated by a committee comprised of Zeynep Celik, Salim Tamari, Zeinab Azarbadegan and Yazid Anani.[i]
In its curatorial statement, the committee contends that “viewing Palestine from the sky is historically part of a clear colonial war of subjugation and control, waged through cutting-edge photography, cartography, remote sensing and surveillance, hand-in-hand with the operations of armies on the ground. In contemporary times, it has become a complex technology of security, hence deterrence. Therefore, reading the aerial gaze on Palestinian geography does not only concern itself with the interpretation of what is depicted on aerial photographs, maps, or films. It requires scrutinising the politics behind placing the technology up in the sky, and the reasons behind the generation of these images. What has been produced from the sky cannot be understood without contextualising and examining it in terms of the realities on the ground, unseen from the sky.”
Accordingly, the exhibition juxtaposes layers of historic material with films and artworks. Archival material that depicts power and colonial hegemony is unpacked, and sometimes subverted, by means of artistic agency that dismantles the colonial, historical, and contemporary constructs. In 2020 and 2021, and as part of the overarching research project, the AMQF partnered with the Institute for Palestine Studies, and this resulted in the publication of a file dedicated to the exhibition from issues (81 and 82) of the Jerusalem Quarterly. The Foundation also organized a lecture entitled “Aerial Cartography at the Threshold of Detectability” by Eyal Weizman as part of the same project.
The exhibition shows works by: Amer Shomali and Dia’ Azzeh, Andrew Yip, DAAR/Decolonizing Architecture Art Research (Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti), Gian Spina, Jack Persekian, Khaled Hourani, Khaled Jarrar, Nida Sinnokrot, Riwaq–Centre for Architectural Conservation (Mohanad Yaqubi), Soledad Salame, Sophie Ernst, and Sophie Halabi. Films by: Dima Abu Ghoush, Forensic Architecture, Irene Anastas and Rene Gabri, Kamal Jaafari, Lumière brothers, Nahed Awwad, Nida Sinnokrot, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Raed Helou (Rosa Luxemburg Foundation), Rania Stephan, Studio CAMP (Shaina Anand, Ashok Sukumaran and Nida Ghouse). In addition to artwork and memorabilia from the collections of the Fawzi Nastas Sculpture Studio and the George Al Ama Art Group.
The exhibition runs from September 11, 2021, to January 15, 2022, and is housed at the Qattan Cultural Centre in Ramallah. Doors are open daily from 11.00 to 19.00 except Friday & Sunday, and an accompanying series of events shall be announced on the Foundation’s social media and website.