Palestine Square regularly features established Palestinian artists, but whom are the up-and-coming artists bound to make their own mark in the following years and presently adding to the rich tapestry of Palestinian art work?
A good place to start would be the 2015 Arab Fund for Arts and Culture grant recipients. These artists have been recognized for their promising work and the grants will aid their efforts to see their projects towards completion. Below we profile all 11 Palestinian grantees.
Watch this space!
Mohammad Abu Geth – Merdeaf Jemba
Mohammad Abu Geth, Documentary Program grantee, is working on a documentary about two Palestinians who attempt to outmaneuver the Israel Defense Forces as they smuggle Palestinian laborers into Israel through the desert of Jemba. The doc focuses on the smuggling network that thrives at the intersection between national solidarity and personal profit.
Raed Andoni – Ghosts Hunting
Raed Andoni, Documentary Program grantee, profiles Palestinians previously held in an Israeli investigation center (i.e., a prison before actual sentencing, which, for Israel, is merely perfunctory). The ex-prisoners attempt to recreate the space where they had been held, but must rely on their memories as each captive had been blindfolded during the duration of his imprisonment. The documentary aspires to capture the consciousness of being under absolute and arbitrary control.
Samar King – Min tala
Samar King, a Performing Arts grantee, is the founding and artistic director of Yaa Samar! Dance Theater, a non-profit based in New York City and Palestine. Her grant will allow her to further develop Min tala, a new dance company with a pan-Arab vision to bring together artists from around the region. Samar, co-directors Jorge Crecis and Taoufiq Izzediou, along with ten performers hope to create new productions and tour the world. The grant is a start, but you may support Min tala as well.
Iyad Issa – Palestine Tracks
Iyad Issa, Visual Arts grantee, has a project for the history books. The Ottoman-Era Hedjaz Railways once traveled from Damascus all the way down to Medina in the western Arabian Peninsula. Issa aims to trace the abandoned and vanished tracks in historic Palestine, where the railway took passengers from Acre (today, northern Israel) to Haifa, through the Galilee, and due south to Nablus (West Bank/Palestine). Through visual representation, the project illustrates the historic connection of Palestine with the surrounding Levant region in contrast to the present disconnection enforced by Israel and its occupation, which has made a similar transport network between, say, Haifa and Damascus impossible.
Inass Yassin – Sparkling City
Inass Yassin, another Visual Arts grantee, is staging an exhibit on Beirut’s rapid urban development and its possible ramifications for Dallet el Raouche, the last undeveloped shoreline in north Beirut. The exhibit will be an interventionist art work , which is part of the larger effort to save el Raouche as a public space. Yassin imagines what would happen if the developers took over and turned el Raouche into a nightmarish scene.
Yazan Al-Khalili – The Forgotten Ruins (working title)
Yazan Al-Khalili, Visual Arts grantee, focuses his gaze on the Palestinian present with an eye toward the past and future. The central exploration is how the present forms the archive of the future. With this mind, Al-Khalili constructs an installation that places Ramallah – the Palestinian Authority’s capital – as a symbol of the continuous destruction of Palestine’s past and a city-project that exemplifies the present neo-liberal model of the proto-Palestinian state-under-occupation; foreshadowing a would-be truncated state, which is favored by Israel.
Ghada Terawi – The Forgotten
Ghada Terawi, a Documentary Program grantee, reminds us of the past history of militant solidarity with the Palestinian struggle through the story of Kozo Okamoto, a Japanese Red Army cadre who left Japan to coordinate attacks on Israeli targets with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The films retraces his journey by interviewing Palestinians and Japanese who operated alongside Okamoto.
Mohamad Abusal – PainFortable
Mohamad Abusal, Visual Arts grantee, brings new meaning to the old saying ‘if you have lemons…’ The Gaza-based artist intends to collect the remains from homes battered by Israel’s recent wars on the Strip and transform them into furniture that would be not only practical, but comfortable and even luxurious. The artist’s mission is to find hope and comfort in the ruins of war.
Farah Saleh – Gestures from the First Intifada
Farah Saleh, Visual Arts grantee, seeks to recapture the gestures of the first Intifada in a dance installation. The movements of the Intifada, the artist contends, have been forgotten by present narratives. Saleh intends to reenact and relate a specific incident at Birzeit University. The project will further explore whether dances can contribute to social and political change through the evocation of collective memory.
Lastly, a grant was awarded to an art institute in Gaza.
Program of Contemporary Arts – Gaza
The Eltiqa Group for Contemporary Art in Gaza first held a workshop for young artists in 2003, which culminated in a volume on modern art in the blockaded Strip. The grant will allow Eltiqa to continue to serve as a home for Gaza’s artists, a space where they can learn, experiment, and produce, and an opportunity to circumvent the blockade via video conferences with regional and international artists.