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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Required Reading: Edward W. Said’s “Orientalism”

In 1978, Edward W. Said (1935-2003) published his now seminal work, Orientalism, a historical study on the discourse surrounding Western Orientalist thought. Said, a controversial figure in both Literary Studies and Middle Eastern politics, was influential in the development of postcolonial studies and his Orientalism laid the groundwork for this new school of thought.

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Alexia & Anisa Ashkar, “Blink of an Eye”

Blink of an Eye
Alexia & Anisa Ashkar
Documentation of performance, 2007

Just found this video on YouTube of a performance by artist Anisa Ashkar (Acre, 1979) interpreting the myth of Perseus and Medusa. I like the turntable that they’re standing on…

Frieze Magazine: Spotlight on Tel Aviv

In this month’s issue of Frieze Magazine, their “City Report” section dishes on Tel Aviv, Israel’s second largest city, known to most as the ‘the bubble.’ Nuit Banai, a Professor at Tufts University, and Eyal Danon and Galit Eilat from the Israeli Center for Digital Art, offer their views on a city well-known for its “air of detachment from the ongoing political turmoil, its hedonism, cosmopolitanism and its vibrant art scene.”

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The National: Contemporary art in the Middle East

Friday’s The National had an interesting article by Kaelen Wilson-Goldie, which responds to the criticism that Middle Eastern cities are “importing culture” from the West. First, it makes the Sharjah Biennial sound like a great party:

The golf course at the Hyatt Regency Dubai is lit up like a 1970s mafia wedding; 24 strands of round, retro light bulbs cascade over the green below like ribbons on an electrified maypole. The artist Khalil Rabah, who directs the Riwaq Biennial in Ramallah, is dancing in his sunglasses despite the darkness of the night. Around him gyrates a throng of artists, curators, friends and colleagues, most of whom are, at this point, barefoot. Rasha Salti, a curator from Beirut, is looping graceful semi-circles around the lawn. Tarek Abou el Fetouh, a curator from Cairo, is waving a scarf above his head and doing what can only be described as a disco dabkeh.

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Emily Jacir: Hugo Boss Prize Exhibition

For years, artist Emily Jacir has addressed the political and social plight of Palestine through an intense and intimate concentration on the everyday. Jacir’s ability to poeticize the quotidian as a way of telling the story of a people – her people – earned her the 2008 Hugo Boss Prize, which carries with it a $100,000 cash prize and a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum. This exhibition, which runs through April 15, builds on her ongoing conceptual practice while continuing to bear witness to Palestinian culture. Part archive, part memorial, part performance, the exhibition is a concentrated work of art that presents an image of absence and of a life cut short.

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Sharif Waked, ‘To Be Continued’

To Be Continued
Sharif Waked (2009) Video installation

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Moshe Safdie Shortlisted for African American Museum

Haifa-born architect Moshe Safdie, designer of the famed Habitat 67, has been shortlisted for the forthcoming National Museum of African American History & Culture on the US national mall. (Yes, we really don’t have one of these here in the US already). It looks like an amazing line-up of designers. The designs are on display for “public comment” in D.C. until April 6, but thankfully the decision will be made by an independent board of reviewers.

Jumana Abboud at La Biennale di Venezia

The artists for the 53rd Biennale exhibition (‘Making Worlds’) have just been announced, and Palestinian artist Jumana Abboud (b Shefa-Amer, 1971)  will be included in the line-up. This comes hot on the heels of the announcement that there will also be a Palestinian pavilion at the Biennale this year – lots of good reasons for me to try to go to Italy this June! [Link]

Sharif Waked in 9th Sharjah Biennial

Sharif Waked will be showing work as part of the ‘Provisions of the Future‘ exhibition in this year’s Sharjah Biennial, curated by Isabel Carlos. From the press release:

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Annemarie Jacir’s ‘Salt of this Sea’ at Tribeca

‘Salt of this Sea’ by Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir will play at Tribeca Film Festival in New York, April 22 to May 3, 2009. Trailer above.