press release

Curated by Reem Fadda, the inaugural exhibition at the Palestinian Museum announces its curatorial concept.

Could Jerusalem be considered the quintessential global city? Does its current condition, its vaults of histories, reflect how cities worldwide aspire to the universal and fall short on the shores of globalization? Is the dissection of neighbourhoods of minorities in global cities echoed in the various quarters of the Old City? Do the border politics imposed by the Israeli military occupation of the city, the treacherous visa procedures, the queues in airports for security screening, conflate with the military checkpoints, permits, racial profiling and walls that are being erected from Mexico to the borders of Jerusalem? Could the source of the mass production of graphic signage, posters, advertisements and branding be traced to the historical tradition of icons, crosses and the Dome of the Rock? How does power and hegemony play out in this global order? How do we face the reality that this global village feels more like a ghetto, a walled city, where our confinement and sense of isolation has heightened? How do we connect? How do we break our contemporary isolation? Could we save the city from being expropriated by colonial and imperial powers, and have its indigenous people, the Palestinians, prosper with equality and wealth? How can this city fight the last battle to be a free capital for all? What are the stories of collective resistance emanating from within the city? Could we chart methodologies of resistance and decolonization that speak globally to other joint struggles? These questions are vitally important considering the politics the city is facing today, in light of the growing isolationism of many global and regional powers, in marking its future, and the answers this project aims to bring about are attempts at a response in the shadow of further foreclosure and exclusion.

The JERUSALEM LIVES exhibition will attempt to study and examine the city of Jerusalem as a case study, a microcosm or condensed laboratory that metaphorically represents globalization and its failures, and to find answers that inspire us to struggle for a better future. Veering away from stereotypical clichés that mark the city, between the polarities of the nostalgic, the holy or the nationalistic, this exhibition will expose the deep-set neoliberal colonial and imperial challenges the city of Jerusalem and its people are facing.

Four chapters explore the concept, beginning with a central multidisciplinary exhibition that demonstrates the emanation, effects and limitations of globalization in the city of Jerusalem, through various audio-visual materials. Commissioned or refabricated, site-specific artworks form the second chapter will be exhibited on the grounds and gardens of the Palestinian Museum. In the third chapter, the public programme will directly collaborate with civic and non-governmental organizations in the city, which have adopted a long-term working methodology of collective communal struggle. The JERUSALEM LIVES publication is the fourth and closing chapter that will focus on knowledge production as a frontier of resistance. This exhibition is curated by Reem Fadda and assistant curators Fawz Kabra and Yara Abbas.

About the curator
Reem Fadda was the former Associate Curator, Middle Eastern Art for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Project, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York from 2010–16. She worked as Academic Director to the International Academy of Art – Palestine, which she helped found in 2006. Fadda was appointed as the Curator for the National Pavilion of the United Arab Emirates of the 55th Venice Biennale, 2012, and was recently the curator of the 6th Marrakech Biennale, held February–May 2016.

About the Palestinian Museum
The Palestinian Museum is an independent museum dedicated to supporting an open and dynamic Palestinian culture nationally and internationally. The Museum presents and engages with new perspectives on Palestinian history, society and culture. It offers spaces for creative ventures, educational programmes and innovative research. The Museum is a flagship project of Taawon-Welfare Association and one of the most exciting new cultural projects in Palestine.

Museum Director: Mahmoud Hawari