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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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.

Tarjama/Translation at Queens Museum

The Queens Museum of Art is currently hosting the traveling exhibition “Tarjama/Translation” (May 10-September 27, 2009), curated by Leeza Ahmady and Iftikhar Dadi, with Reem Fadda, Assistant Curator. The show includes work by Khalil Rabah and Sharif Waked.

Here is a bit from the exhibition guide:

…in the speed of our encounter with globalization, we are flooded with what contemporary Chilean philosopher Dario Salas calls ‘dead information’ – dead because the average person cannot possibly process the quantity and velocity of stimuli he or she encounters every day.

To translate is to render significance: the meaning and importance of something at hand…

The Curatorial Statement is available for download on the ArteEast website.

Image caption: Sharif Waked, “Tugra”

Posted by Lauren Pearson

Khalil Rabah, Palestine c/o Venice Artist Spotlight

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

For his extensive ‘Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind‘, artist Khalil Rabah has created a fictional nomadic museum that collects and classifies the natural environment of Palestine. He describes it as follows:

The Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind was established in 1936 to inspire wonder, discovery and creations, which provoke curiosity and deepen understanding of our natural and cultural world.

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/si:n/ festival of video art and performance

The /si:n/ festival of video art & performance opens tonight (May 19 2009) at 7.00pm at the A.M. Qattan Foundation in Ramallah. The festival features performances, screenings and installations from now through Sunday. Here’s a link to the program, and the full schedule.

The schedule includes 1999 video work by Khalil Rabah, ‘My Body and Sole,’ that we haven’t seen; work by Taysir Batniji, Jumana Abboud and Shadi Habib Allah; some tantalizing looking screening programs; and the work pictured above: Raeda Saadeh’s Vacuum. You can watch the piece online here; we recommend it!

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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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.

United States of Palestine Airlines, London Office

Ramallah-based artist Khalil Rabah is showing an installation in London through 5 March at Rose Issa Projects.

‘United States of Palestine Airlines, London Office’ … includes a large model plane comprising the logos of various airlines, a map with haphazardly coloured boundaries, empty display cabinets, five clocks whose hands are frozen at different times, and a sofa with no client to welcome.

Symposium on Contemporary Art in the Middle East at Tate

Tate is hosting a symposium beginning tomorrow on Contemporary Art in the Middle East. It looks like a great line-up – wish we could be there! If anyone has reports from it, please email us. We’re particularly interested in the panel on Recent Middle Eastern exhibitions, which includes Khalil Rabah of the Riwaq Biennale:

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