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.


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Jawad al Malhi, Palestine c/o Venice Artist Spotlight

For the next several posts, we will be running profiles of past projects by artists featured in the Palestine c/o Venice Pavilion. – ed.

Jawad al Malhi’s contribution to the 2009 Palestine c/o Venice Pavilion is hard to miss: a panoramic photograph, House #197, printed at monumental scale (pictured above). The image depicts the Shufhat Refugee camp in Jerusalem as seen from the neighbouring Israeli settlement. The image seems flattened as if taken with a telephoto lens; focal length emphasizes the distance between observer and observed.

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Mapping Palestine at Art Dubai

Hot on the heels of Monday’s announcement of a Palestine pavilion at Venice, Art Dubai has announced that it will present a project called ‘Mapping Palestine’ as part of this year’s fair, which takes place 18-21 March. The project, curated by Samar Martha of ArtSchool Palestine, includes an exhibition of 2D works,  a video exhibition, and a series of presentations by arts organizations based in Palestine.

Here’s a list of artists from the ArtSchool Palestine website:

The first project, Akhir al Layl “at the end of the night”, derived from a poem by the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, exhibits a range of two-dimensional works by artists living and working in Palestine and the diaspora including Sama Alshaibi, Rana Bishara, Tarek Al Ghoussein, Raouf Haj Yihya,  Rula Halawani, Alexandra Handal, Shuruq Harb, Mona Hatoum, Yazan Khalili, Jawad Al Malhi, Ahlam Shibli and Sharif Waked.

The second project, Tamam, is a programme of video art and includes work by Alexandra Handal, Annemarie Jacir, Sharif Waked, Larissa Sansour and Enas Muthafar amongst others. Tamam is an Arabic word meaning ‘everything is fine’.  But under the harsh reality of occupation, can things be fine and normal? Ironically, each of the selected artists portrays in their work the harshness of life under occupation and its absurdity. In a sometimes sarcastic manner, their work highlights some of the aspects of daily life under occupation.

Palestine c/o Venice

Jawad Al Malhi, House No. 197, 2007-2009

e-Flux ran an announcement this morning for a Palestinian pavilion to take at the Venice Biennale. The selected artists include Taysir Batniji, who is included in our show ‘First Person’, and Shadi HabibAllah, now getting his MFA at Columbia. Also in the show: Emily jacir, Jawad AL Malhi, Khalil Rabah, Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti.

In 2003, Francesco Bonami tried to include a Palestinian pavilion in the Biennale:

Not long after taking up the Venice directorship in March 2002, Mr. Bonami mentioned in a briefing to the Biennale’s board that he was considering adding a Palestinian pavilion to this year’s exhibition, which opens June 15. The next morning he woke up to find an article on the plan in Il Gazzettino, the major Venetian daily, which included criticism of it as needlessly provocative or even anti-Semitic. (Full article here)

The announcement of the 2009 version seems to have been handled much better – I don’t think there was any press about this until after the official statement was released. This is a good sign – hopefully the conversations provoked by the Palestinian pavilion will be more interesting the second time around.

UPDATE: It’s also worth noting that the organizers of Palestine c/o Venice have arranged to make presentations six Palestinian art institutions alongside the Biennale, to cater to audiences who are unable to travel or obtain visas.

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