The second funding round of VAFF supports developing and making visual art archives accessible and providing research opportunities
A.M. Qattan Foundation (AMQF) recently signed two new grant implementation agreements, with the Palestinian Art Court–Al Hoash in Jerusalem and the Eltiqa Art Group in Gaza, as part of the second round of the “Visual Arts: A Flourishing Field” project (VAFF).
VAFF’s grant will enable Al Hoash to establish the Visual Art Resources Programme by working to update, digitise and make available the archive of the Al Wasiti Art Centre in Jerusalem that was entrusted to the organisation. Al Hoash’s archive and publications, and other important archives, will be added at a later stage of this project to preserve and document Palestinian art and its social history.
This phase of the project will be completed in co-operation with the Khazaen Foundation in Jerusalem. The material will be made available on a website that will connect a wide network of researchers, artists and enthusiasts. A number of researchers will also be commissioned to conduct research into the available material, thus contributing to enriching knowledge production in the field of Palestinian art.
“The project highlights the importance of safeguarding and digitising Palestinian art archives. It also contributes to enhancing their role in preserving cultural, artistic and social memory by generating an art database that will provide researchers and practitioners with material to study and deconstruct” commented Hatem Tahhan, Head of Programmes at Al Hoash. “The aim is to situate cultural practice within the context of social and political Palestinian history, and therefore establish an environment suitable for analysis and critcism based on concrete principles and references” he added.
With the grant support, a public programme of artistic and cultural activities will also be designed and implemented parallel to the research programmes and their outputs. This public programme will include encounters, seminars, symposiums and exhibitions.
VAFF’s grant to the visual arts project implemented by Eltiqa Group, under the umbrella of the Gaza Association for Culture and Arts (GACA), will support the delivery of three trainings in the field of visual arts, as well as production grants and artist residencies at cultural centres in the north and south of the Gaza Strip. Exhibitions will be organised to present the artworks of artists participating in the various opportunities of this programme. The grant will cover the costs of setting up exhibition space, a production and training lab at Eltiqa’s headquarters, and of developing financial and administrative manuals for GACA.
Additionally, the grant will support seven research studies for examining the output of the visual arts scene in Gaza, to be supervised by professional Palestinian researchers and academics.
“The studies will explore the historical aspect of the visual arts scene and the contemporary experiences of artists, aiming to understand the progress of this field across successive generations in the Gaza Strip” explained Mohammed Al Hawajri from the Eltiqa Group. “This initiative is the first of its kind focused on enriching the contemporary art scene in the Gaza Strip, and reinforcing the sustainability of its knowledge resources through feeding into it studies that monitor and analyse its outputs” Hawajri added.
This is the second partnership of the VAFF project in the Gaza Strip as part of this round. Previously, an implementation agreement was signed with the General Union of Cultural Centres (GUCC) and the Shababeek for Contemporary Art collective, through which new opportunities for training, production and exhibiting will be provided for visual artists in the Gaza Strip.
On the impact of the two grants, Yara Odeh, Director of VAFF at AMQF, said: “The importance of the Al Hoash and the Eltiqa Group programmes lies in their response to an urgent need in Palestine, and in their contribution to the visual arts scene with original research studies, conducted in Arabic and focused on the visual arts, and in reaching out to new audiences, artists and enthusiasts.”
Odeh added: "With these two grants, the number of grants allocated to visual art organisations in the second round of the VAFF project amounts to ten grants, totalling more than 13 million Swedish kronor (1.4 million USD). VAFF launched its second and last round at the beginning of last year, aiming to support organisations working in the visual arts field, to enhance their capacities and sustainability, develop their visual art education and research programmes and make them available to art students, artists and professionals. VAFF also aims to enable art institutions to support artists and art professionals and to build a wider audience base for the visual arts field in Palestine."