As part of the Fourth Qalandia International, A. M. Qattan Foundation Opens the Sixth Edition of “Cities Exhibition” with Birzeit University Museum: “Lydda-A Garden Disremembered”
In partnership with Birzeit University Museum, A. M. Qattan Foundation opens an art exhibition on 4 November 2018, entitled “Lydda – A Garden Disremembered,” at the University’s Museum. The Exhibition will also include a program of cultural activities until 15 January 2019.
The Exhibition is the sixth edition of the “Cities Exhibition” series, launched by Birzeit University Museum in 2009. It marks the partnership between both organisations under the Fourth Qalandia International 2018, around the theme of solidarity. Four researchers and six artists will participate in the exhibition.
Lydda is a demographically divided city following the long-engineered process of displacement of its native population. The city has endured a long history of urban planning exploitation as a tool to isolate and control it. Under the British Mandate, engineers Clifford Holliday and Otto Polcheck planned it as a modern utopian garden to host British colonizers. It was looked upon with an Orientalist gaze for preserving its ‘underdeveloped’ Biblical landscape in the areas where the Palestinians lived. However, the Hebrew state has, since 1948, undermined its utopian master plan by restricting any natural expansion of the Palestinian neighbourhoods of the city, including al- Mahatta the garden railway neighbourhood. As a result, the British utopia to which the Palestinian people were displaced following the Nakba was transformed into a dystopia.
Visitors are not only invited to contemplate artworks about Lydda, but also to examine closely the life of its inhabitants through the “Lydda Track,” an alternative political tour that explores the present face of the city. This tour of the residential neighbourhood will be guided by Mr. Khalil Abu Shehadah, a native of the Mahatta (Railway) Neighbourhood, socio-political activist and owner of the Alternative Political Tourism Agency in Lydda, Ramallah and Yaffa.
Cultural events organised alongside the exhibition will take place at Birzeit University Museum to comprise readings, lectures, symposia, panel discussions and film screenings. Abed Al-Rahman Shabaneh from the Qattan Foundation will present a reading of Rajai Basila’s book, Land of My Birth: Palestinian Childhood. The book narrates the story of a blind Palestinian boy growing up in modest surroundings during the unrest prior to the fall of Lydda in 1948. The reading will explore Basala’s imaginary of the post-fall events, focusing on the special status of a blind Palestinian scholar who lived in this era.
Other activities include a lecture titled “Refugees of Lydda and the Commercial and Industrial History of Ramallah,” delivered by Nasser Rumaneh, Chairman of the National Lydda Association. More events will be announced in the coming days.
Exhibition curators: Yazid Anani, Abed Al-Rahman Shabaneh, Vera Tamari, Eyad Issa, Amer Al-Shomali and Ziad Haj Ali.
Exhibition Researchers: Hadeel Yaqoup, Manal Massalha, Razan Khalaf and Tareq Khalaf.
Artists: Alexandra Brunt, Luca Vanello, Mahdi Baraghithi, Maria Kaik, May Herbawe and Tina Willgren.