A. M. Qattan Foundation Launches Ways of Travelling Artist Residency Programme
On Saturday, 14 July 2018, the Public Programme (PP) of the A. M. Qattan Foundation (AMQF) announced the launch of Ways of Travelling Artist Residency Programme 2019-2020. The event took place in a ceremony at the AMQF Cultural Centre in Al-Tira neighbourhood, Ramallah.
The opening ceremony featured a reading from Postcard Chat, a collection of letters exchanged between the writer and critic John Berger and his son Yves about art and artists.
Ziad Khalaf, AMQF Director General, said: “Through the Q-Residency Programme 2019-2020, Ways of Travelling, the AMQF is proud to honour John Berger, the artist, writer, poet, critic, fierce defender of the poor and the oppressed, the humanitarian, the insightful (clairvoyant), and the greatly missed friend of Palestine.”
“All his life, John Berger produced works which always breached barriers between high culture and low culture, truth and imagination, and art and politics, by his constant travelling through different genres of writing. Berger left behind a collection of writings, including dozens of novels, four plays, three collections of poems, 33 books, articles, and countless paintings and sketches. In addition, Berger produced works in a myriad of collaborative efforts with filmmakers, photographers, playwrights, political activists, scholars, poets, novelists, peasants, workers, friends, proponents, and members of his family.” Khalaf went on.
According to Khalaf, the theme of Ways of Travelling Artist Residency Programme has been constructed and inspired by John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, which in the 1970s revolutionised the way we saw art and visual representation. Berger did not only examine the way in which works of art were made, but also made us realise the policies that encourage us to see these works. He taught us that seeing a work of art or a picture entails engaging in a visual relationship, not only between the work of art and its beholder, but also between the social order which endowed its visual language on the work and the social order by which we – the beholders – capture the essence of what we see in front of us. Berger presented to us the tools of criticism to start to see art and the world and understand them by ourselves by demonstrating the close relationship between power, what is visual, and our attitude towards both.
Khalaf stated: “Ways of Travelling is the theme which the PP adopts for its Artist Residency Programme 2019-2020. It will be the hub for developing PP activities during this period.”
“This theme contrasts the historical significance of the controversial travel literature and ideologies that underpin the phraseology of travels in the presence of the contemporary crisis of estrangement and immobility in the region. Additionally, it is an attempt to benefit from cultural practices as a contemporary way of communication between humans and geographies, cultural diversity, and restructure of societies.” Khalaf concluded.
Berger’s son, Yves, said: “During the last month of my father’s life, his favourite activity was painting with friends and visitors. He would put an apple on a table in front of the visitor. Both would paint it, and then compare and talk about their paintings. That what gave him most pleasure.”
Yves explained that Postcard Chat was postcards exchanged between him and his father, which they used to send to each other and chat about. “These exchanges will be soon published in a book, to be titled For You. This title is fit for this evening. For you – for the audience and for the AMQF that named this artist residency programme after my father.” Yves concluded.
Yves Berger and Jules Linglin made the reading in English, while Tania Nasir and Mahmoud Abu Hashhash made it in Arabic.