‘Otherwise Occupied’: Palestinian artists to exhibit at 2013 Venice Biennale

Palestinian artists at this year’s Venice Biennale showcase installations tackling issues such as alienation, identity and conflict.

Ahram Online,

Monday 11 Mar 2013

‘Otherwise Occupied’, an exhibition of Palestinian artwork at the 55th edition of the prestigious Venice Biennale, will be held from 29 May until 30 June, presenting a neutral space in which Palestinian artists can showcase their art.

The exhibition is organised by The Palestinian Art Court (Al Hoash), a Jerusalem based non-profit organization seeking to develop Palestinian visual arts as a tool for expression and communication, and curated by Bruce Ferguson, Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Science at the American University in Cairo. Bruce Ferguson and Al Hoash director Rawan Sharaf, will feature the work of two globally acclaimed Palestinian artists; Bashir Makhoul and Aissa Deebi as part of the exhibition.

“’Otherwise Occupied’ describes other ways of imagining the nation outside and beyond the conflict; it is therefore a means of artistic and critical thinking through the de-territorialization of Palestine,” reads the curatorial statement.

Both Palestine-born artists have emigrated, yet continue to create artwork abroad that somehow redefines their roots. Both artists are “in continuous search of new ways to imagine the nation from a distance,” according to the the press release.

UK based artist and head of the Winchester School of Arts at Southampton University, Bashir Makhoul, will exhibit a large-scale installation project entitled “Giardino Occupato” at this year’s Venice Biennale. Thousands of cardboard boxes, assembled by members of the public during the show, will be shown in the garden of the Liceo Artistico Statale di Venezia, simulating a shanty town, or refugee camp, probing questions regarding the spaces and shelters that have emerged in the wake of conflict and occupation.

While Makhloul is occupied with raising questions about the impact of war on the livelihoods of people, his work often offers political critiques on various issues, Aissa Deebi is more concerned with issues of cultural-migration, his work investigating notions of alienation and identity. Deebi is based between Cairo and New York, and is currently the Director of the Visual Cultures Program at the American University in Cairo.

In ‘Otherwise Occupied, Deebi exhibits a series of drawings, and an installation recreating a speech by the Palestinian citizen of Israel, Daoud Turki, who tried “to advance an idea against the paranoid Zionist fantasy of conflict toward the larger idea of a socialist class struggle, proclaiming solidarity with ‘…all workers, peasants and those persecuted in Israeli society.'”

This article first appeared here .

Palestinian Art Organization based in Jerusalem announces initiation of work on Otherwise Occupied for the 55th Venice Biennial 2013

  palestinianpavilion_2013

Aissa Deebi & Bashir Makhoul
Otherwise Occupied
29 May–30 June 2013

Venice Biennale 2013
55th International Art Exhibition

Palestine has been occupied for so long it is no longer a spatio-temporal entity but a construction of the imaginary: a national designation that includes a far-flung diaspora, a huge population of refugees, as well as members of an indeterminate territorial authority under occupation and even a large number of Israeli citizens. There exist simultaneously no Palestinian state and many Palestinian states. It is the quintessence of Benedict Anderson’s classic formulation of nationhood as ‘imagined communities.’

Both artists, Makhoul and Deebi, were originally born inside the 1948 borders, in the margins of another state in their homeland and outside the occupied West Bank and the centres of contemporary Palestinian culture, and have immigrated to live elsewhere. In order to get closer to Palestine, to engage in new ways of thinking or imagining the nation, it is perhaps necessary to live at a distance from it.

Al Hoash is a Jerusalem based nonprofit Palestinian organization that seeks the development and elevation of the status of visual arts as a substantial and critical tool for communication, innovation, pleasure, free expression and national pride. Its work is based on the belief that the visual arts play a vital role in promoting the welfare, development and independent creative spirit of all people.

Al Hoash’s mission is to provide and sustain a knowledge-based platform for Palestinians to express, explore, realize and strengthen their national and cultural identity through visual practice. Visual culture can be utilized to analyze, research and explore the formation and transformation of our collective and individual memory in the process of producing identity.

wwww.thepalestinianpavilion.com

info@alhoashgallery.org