Art Palestine International is a New York-based cultural organization dedicated to Palestinian contemporary art. We collaborate with museums, galleries, and non-profits to produce art exhibitions, events, and publications.

This blog is a research tool that allows us to chart our research and invite others along on the journey.

Content RSS

The First Palestinian on the Moon

Larissa Sansour
A Space Exodus

January 8 – February 7, 2010
Friday, Sept 8, 7–9pm
487 Driggs Ave, bet N. 9 and N. 10
Click here
Thurs–Mon, 12–6pm

The first Palestinian on the moon?

In the debut New York solo show of international sensation Larissa Sansour, it’s a beautiful dream. Born in Jerusalem in 1973 to a Russian mother and a Palestinian father, educated in New York and London and living in Copenhagen, Sansour has grown weary of representations of the Palestinian people in the international media. In this exhibition, ” A Space Exodus,” she gives us a powerful alternative, as charmingly mischievous as it is delightful and magical. Visitors will encounter her video “A Space Exodus” —in which we see her landing on the moon—along with five large photographs of the event and a hundred toy-like Palestinaut sculptures. It doesn’t look real. It looks like a movie.

“A Space Exodus,” several years in the making, is beautifully shot and wonderfully choreographed, with state-of-the-art special effects.


It is her we see in this spectacular footage, a Palestinian—and a woman, no less—planting her foot into the moon dust as she proclaims, “One small step for a Palestinian, one giant leap for mankind.” It directly references the U.S. moon landing and also Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey . The Palestinian flag is prominently featured, as is her uniquely designed Palestinian space suit, sporting unusual shoes. But it’s the surface of the moon and the twinkling stars and the earth in the distance and her low-gravity gliding across the image that make it feel like transcendent freedom, far from the political and cultural woes of the here and now.

This is also the international debut of the Palestinauts, 2009, 12″ high, edition of 500.

Sansour has long been drawn to popular culture as an antidote to the grim and dreary documentary-style depictions of Palestinians. Humor makes the work accessible, less threatening. But these are serious issues. Sansour dreams of giving a space program to the Palestinians. It is tongue in cheek perhaps, but an aspiration nonetheless, which she fully intends to realize.

Sansour’s work has been exhibited worldwide in galleries, museums and film festivals, including Tate Modern, London and the Arken Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. Her work was shown in last year’s Third Guangzhou Triennial in China, the Contemporary Art Biennale in Nîmes, France and the Busan Biennale in South Korea. Her latest film “A Space Exodus” was nominated for the Muhr Awards for short film at the Dubai International Film Festival. Her work was featured in the 11th International Istanbul Biennial in September 2009. She is according to one of the most respected video artists in the world. Her November 25th event at the Tate Modern, with Oreet Ashery, featured performance and video screenings to launch their graphic novel “Nonel and Vovel” and was touted as one of the museum’s 2009 highlights. January 23rd , she is doing a book signing event at the Brooklyn Museum of Art’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

“Tampering with the P(e)ace of Stasis: Artistic Practices of Trespassing in the Work of Larissa Sansour,” by Nat Muller

Article in The National Newspaper, Beirut

Jack the Pelican