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Palestine from Above

11 September 2021 – 15 January 2022

A. M. Qattan Foundation Cultural Centre
Ramallah, Palestine

Curatorial Committee:
Salim Tamari, Yazid Anani, Zainab Azarbadegan, Zeynep Çelik

With the participation of 25 artists and filmmakers.

Photos of the exhibition  

The A.M. Qattan Foundation's (AMQF) exhibition “Palestine from Above” showcases contemporary art works by local and international artists and practitioners, together with archival and historical documents. It comes as a culmination of a collaborative research project, also called “Palestine from Above”, and is curated by a committee comprised of Zeynep Çelik, Salim Tamari, Zeinab Azarbadegan and Yazid Anani.

In its curatorial statement, the committee contends that “viewing Palestine from the sky is historically part of a clear colonial war of subjugation and control, waged through cutting-edge photography, cartography, remote sensing and surveillance, hand-in-hand with the operations of armies on the ground. In contemporary times, it has become a complex technology of security, hence deterrence. Therefore, reading the aerial gaze on Palestinian geography does not only concern itself with the interpretation of what is depicted on aerial photographs, maps, or films. It requires scrutinising the politics behind placing the technology up in the sky, and the reasons behind the generation of these images. What has been produced from the sky cannot be understood without contextualising and examining it in terms of the realities on the ground, unseen from the sky.”

Grouped in 6 Chapters, and 57 sections, the exhibition juxtaposes layers of historic material with films and artworks. Archival material that depicts power and colonial hegemony is unpacked, and sometimes subverted, by means of artistic agency that dismantles the colonial, historical, and contemporary constructs. In 2020 and 2021, and as part of the overarching research project, the AMQF partnered with the Institute for Palestine Studies, and this resulted in the publication of a file dedicated to the exhibition from issues (81 and 82) of the Jerusalem Quarterly. The Foundation also organized a lecture entitled “Aerial Cartography at the Threshold of Detectability” by Eyal Weizman as part of the same project.

See the texts
Curatorial text & introduction to the 6 Chapters (pdf)

Curatorial Committee:

IPS senior fellow and the former director of the IPS-affiliated Institute of Jerusalem Studies. He is editor of Jerusalem Quarterly and Hawliyyat al Quds. He is professor of sociology at Birzeit University and an adjunct professor at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University. He has authored several works on urban culture, political sociology, biography and social history, and the social history of the Eastern Mediterranean. Recent publications include: Year of the Locust: Palestine and Syria during WWI (UC Press, 2010) and Ihsan’s War: The Intimate Life of an Ottoman Soldier (IPS, Beirut, 2008).

Born 1975, Ramallah, Director of the Public Programme at the A. M. Qattan Foundation, Ramallah. He was a professor at the Department of Architecture and the Master Program in Urban Planning and Landscape – Birzeit University, Palestine 2007 – 2016. He curated and co-curated several projects including: Outside the Archive, Subcontracted nations, Zalet Lisan, ‘The Facility’, ‘Weed Control’ and the 2nd- 6th editions of Cities Exhibition. Anani has lectured and published internationally on architecture, art and urban transformations, colonial spaces and power relations, public art and public spaces and art education.

Postdoctoral research fellow at the Vienna School of International Studies. Her research focuses on the intersection of production of scientific knowledge and international relations and law in contesting sovereignty in the late nineteenth century Ottoman Iraq. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association, Jerusalem Quarterly, and Philological Encounters.

Distinguished professor emerita at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and adjunct professor of History at Columbia University. Her publications include Urban Forms and Colonial Confrontations (1997), Camera Ottomana (2014, co-editor), and Europe Knows Nothing about the Orient (forthcoming). She co-curated several exhibitions and has been the recipient of prestigious fellowships and awards, including the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2004), American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship (1992, 2004, and 2011), the Sarton Medal from Ghent University (2014), Giorgio Levi Della Vida Award (UCLA, 2019), and Tamayouz Award (2019).

Participants & exhibits

Artworks by:
Amer Shomali and Dia’ Azzeh, Andrew Yip, DAAR/Decolonizing Architecture Art Research (Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti), Gian Spina, Jack Persekian, Khaled Hourani, Khaled Jarrar, Nida Sinnokrot, Riwaq–Centre for Architectural Conservation (Mohanad Yaqubi), Soledad Salame, Sophie Ernst, Sophie Halabi.

Films by:
Dima Abu Ghoush, Forensic Architecture, Irene Anastas and Rene Gabri, Kamal Jaafari, Lumière brothers, Nahed Awwad, Nida Sinnokrot, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Raed Helou (Rosa Luxemburg Foundation), Rania Stephan, Studio CAMP (Shaina Anand, Ashok Sukumaran and Nida Ghouse).

Artworks and memorabilia from the collections of the Fawzi Nastas Sculpture Studio and the George Al Ama Collection.

Address - Contact:
The A.M. Qattan Foundation
27 An-Nahda Women Association St.
Ramallah 90606
P.O. Box 2276, Ramallah, Palestine.
Tel: +970 2 296 0544

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Location on map

Press contact:
Nader Dagher
Director of Communication & Public Relations - Ramallah
T: +970 2963280 - Ext: 1029

© Photos and texts: Courtesy of A.M. Qattan Foundation

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