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.





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Museum Plans Bloom on Saadiyat Island

According to Peter Aspden writing  in February 18′s issue of  Financial Times, Saadiyat Island (just 500m off the coast of Abu Dhabi City) is “hurtling towards the future”. Thanks to Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon al-Nahyan, museum development plans on the island are redefining Abu Dhabi’s place  in the world of culture.

The island will soon host a new Guggenheim Museum, to be designed by Frank Gehry, which will focus on Arabic, Islamic and other Middle Eastern art in the context of developments over the last 100 years. The new Louvre Abu Dhabi, designed by Jean Nouvel, will be a world museum, borrowing pieces from its parent in Paris.
The Zayed National Museum (Norman Foster’s spectacular fan-shaped design resembling feathers of a falcon) will be named after Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, former ruler of Abu Dhabi and founding father of the Arab Emirates federation.  It will house contemporary Middle Eastern art–” a huge amount of talent  begging to be seen and recognised.” We very much look forward to seeing Palestinian artists represented in their program.
Emirati women who have been active in leading the cultural change are  an interesting group to watch.  They include Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan al-Nahyan and Sheikha al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.

Edward Gibbs, director of the Middle East department  and worldwide head of Islamic  art at Sotheby’s says that the increased emphasis on culture  in the region has been “astonishing.” “The future is Asia and the Asians will come to Saadiyat Island  in the millions. He speaks of the ancient staging posts of the Silk Routes –the great cities of Palmyra and Nishapur  that collapsed back into the sand..Abu Dhabi , Doha, Dubai. These are the new staging posts!

Self Portrait with Goat by Durar Bacri

The recent New Yorker profile of Amos Schocken, publisher of Haaretz, made reference to the painting above, which is now hanging in Schocken’s office.
Durar Bacri‘s “Self Portrait with Goat” was shown in a competition in Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion  airport, 2006, where Schocken saw and bought it.  Schoken has followed Bacri’s career since then and purchased  other  Bacri paintings. In the Self Portrait seen above, Bacri describes himself  as an all-American Marlboro man, wearing jeans and shirt from a famous Israeli fashion designer. In the painting, he is “lord of his surrounding Galilee  hills.” The goat represents  a connection with the land and Palestinian life and reflects the loneliness that Bacri feels, isolated from both Arab and Israeli society.
Bacri feels that other Arab painters have turned their backs on him, perhaps because as an Israeli Arab, he falls between two worlds.

Hani Zurob, Flying Lesson #05

Hani Zurob, Flying Lesson #05, Acrylic on Canvas, 200x160cm, 2010. The child in the artist’s recent work is his young son. Art Space will present Zurob’s work at Art Dubai 2011.

Congratulations, Egypt

On this blog, we try to stay on the subject of art, leaving others to discuss politics and human rights and other worthy ideals – but sometimes it’s impossible. I would like to applaud our Egyptian friends for their unbelievable courage, and ask them to never give up. I am full of hope for the future of the Egyptians and of all Middle Eastern peoples.

CAA Panel Wrap-up

Last week, I attended a panel at the annual College Art Association conference entitled “Interdependent Identity: Paradigm and Paradox in Contemporary Israeli and Palestinian Art”. Organized by Noah Simblist of SMU and Sarah Rogers of Columbia’s Global Center Amman, it was an interesting exploration of various elements of the occupation and its impact on artists.

The panel began with Adair Rounthwaite (U of Minnesota), who discussed Emily Jacir’s piece, “Sexy Semite.” For this work, Jacir contacted 60 Palestinians living in the New York area and asked them to place ‘sexy’ personal ads in the Village Voice as if they were looking for a Jewish mate, which would allow them to return to Palestine/Israel thanks to the Law of Return.

Rounthwaite pointed out that the work combines oppression and desire. She offered in comparison a piece by Kara Walker consisting of a letter from a sexually subjugated black girl to her white master.

Read the rest of this entry »

Steve Sabella, Settlement

SETTLEMENT – Six Israelis and One Palestinian, Steve Sabella (2010). Seven lightjet prints mounted on aluminum panels. Now showing at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar as one of 23 major new commissions in the exhibition Told/Untold/Retold. See video on Steve’s website.

Khalil Rabah, Biproduct

BIPRODUCT, Khalil Rabah (2010), Multimedia installation. Now showing at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar as one of 23 major new commissions in the exhibition Told/Untold/Retold.

Mona Hatoum Wins Joan Miró Prize

Just announced – artist Mona Hatoum has won the Joan Miró Prize, worth 70,000 Euro. From the press release:

The jury of the 2011 Joan Miró Prize has granted the award to the Palestinian-British artist residing in London and Berlin, Mona Hatoum, for her great skill in connecting personal experience with universal values. Hatoum’s sculptures, installations, performances and videos set her among the most outstanding artists on the international art scene.

Woot!

Panel at the NY HIlton

Starting in NYC tomorrow, Wednesday, February 9th, the CAA (College Art Association) will hold its 99th conference – open to the public – at the NY Hilton, 6th Avenue and 53rd St. From 2.30PM to 5.00PM there will be a panel discussion entitled Interdependent Identity: Paradigm and Paradox in Contemporary Israeli and Palestinian Art. Session tickets are $35. We urge you to go, and for those of you overseas, we will send a wrapup (with photos) by the end of the week

Click here for the CAA schedule.

Haaretz reports on UmelFahm museum building plans

Um el Fahm, a sparsely populated Arab town located in Israeli territory, is home to an art gallery, The Um el Fahm Gallery, that is fueled by the energy and enthusiasm of its director, Said abu Shakra. Over the years, Said – a former police officer and artist member of the Shakra family of artists – has managed to attract an ecumenical audience for his exhibitions, many of which attempt to combine the works of both Israeli and Palestinian artists.

Said’s ambition  and dreams have led to the idea of a Museum in Um el Fahm. According to this Jan. 27 article in Haaretz, architect’s plans are currently on the drawing board and recently a benefit for the new museum was held at a most unlikely place:  the Tel Aviv Museum.

Hats off to the Shakra family and to their Israeli supporters.