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Palestine’s Qalandiya International on track to open this October in spite of assault on Gaza
The biannual event will shed light on the role of archives in shaping Palestine’s past and present
The recent Israeli assault on the Palestinian people in Gaza has brought horrific loss of life, suffering and destruction. In the face of this, the organisers and partners of Qalandiya International have decided to continue with the program of events for October/November 2014, in a spirit of collective creative resistance.
The second edition of Qalandiya International, a large contemporary art event, will be held in Palestinian towns and villages across the divide including Jerusalem, Haifa, Ramallah, Hebron and Gaza from 22 October to 15 November. This year’s event will feature works by over 100 Palestinian and International artists, collated in a series of newly commissioned art projects under the theme "Archives, Lived and Shared".
Running alongside these exhibitions will be a series of different events, including public performances, installations, interventions, conceptual and video art, and talks from the artists, as well as seminars with local and international speakers. Field trips and walks will allow visitors to explore significant Palestinian architectural sites.
Qalandiya International is organised by nine Palestinian cultural and contemporary art institutions. Jack Persekian, director of the Palestinian Museum, is delighted to be taking part in such an important project. ‘We are very pleased to be involved with organising the second edition of Qalandiya International, which is the product of the consolidated efforts and resources of several prominent cultural and contemporary arts institutions in Palestine. We hope, through Qalandiya International, to put Palestine’s name firmly on the map of international cultural events, especially in the field of contemporary art. We are seeking to form new means of communication and cultural connection across Palestine’s fragmented geographical reality.”
This year’s event will highlight the role of archives in shaping Palestine’s past and present. Mahmoud Abu Hashhash, Director of the Culture and the Arts Programme at the A. M. Qattan Foundation, explains that Qalandiya International 2014 is designed to encourage new forms of interaction with archives in Palestine. ‘We are proposing an engagement with archives that is creative as well as critical; their role in preserving and shaping national identity, and the importance of public access to them, will serve as the theme and inspiration for this year’s events. Along the way, we also hope to address some of the more problematic ways in which archives have previously been discussed and dealt with.’
The first edition of Qalandiya International was launched in 2012 and was hugely successful: around 250 local and international artists took part, and over 150 journalists and art critics covered the various events and activities. In total, the original Qalandiya International attracted an audience of at least 6500 people.
Notes to the editors
For the past decade, the word ‘Qalandiya’ has been associated with the infamous Israeli checkpoint that helps to confine the West Bank, disconnecting it from Jerusalem and the rest of the world. This checkpoint has been a significant presence both in the media and in the visual and literary works produced in and about Palestine. It is the setting for countless scenes of daily suffering and subjugation, and its stories offer sad but telling glimpses of the oppressive regime of the occupation.
However, ‘Qalandiya’ also has other connotations. Some of these have been deliberately blurred or totally erased over the years, but a closer look can uncover them: it recalls the now closed Qalandiya Airport, for example (or the Jerusalem International Airport as it was initially called), as well as the Qalandiya refugee camp, and Qalandiya village (which the wall has divided into two separate parts).
In all its senses Qalandiya is a meeting-place for contradictions. Until 1967, when its airport was taken over by the Israeli authorities, it was the West Bank’s key link with the rest of the world, but since the construction of the checkpoint in 2000 it has been a symbol of disconnection, isolation, segregation and fragmentation. Today, there are plans to build a settlement there.
Qalandiya International will utilize the name and its many meanings to bring together a series of events seeking to present a truer picture of Palestine to the international cultural scene, inviting audiences to share in the contradictory experiences embedded in the symbolic paradox of Qalandiya.
Organisers and partners
Qalandiya International is the culmination of the vision and effort of a group of prominent Palestinian cultural organisations focusing on contemporary art. These include the following institutions: Al-Ma’mal; the A. M. Qattan Foundation; Arab Culture Association in Haifa; International Academy of Art Palestine; Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre; Palestinian Art Court – Al Hoash; Ramallah Municipality; Riwaq and the Palestinian Museum. Qalandiya International is also in partnership this year with MinRASY PROJECTS, Windows and Iltiqa for Contemporary Art in Gaza and Al-Mashghal (the Factory) in Haifa.
2nd Qalandiya International
22 October - 15 November 2014
Theme: Archives, Lived and Shared
Works by over 100 Palestinian and international artists, presented in Palestinian towns and villages across the divide, including Jerusalem, Haifa, Ramallah, Hebron and Gaza