A concrete wall with a hole in the middle dominates the centre of the exhibition space, dividing it into parts and obstructing the visitor’s movement. A reference to the separation wall that Israel is constructing, it is a work by Khaled Jarrar in Palestine à l’IMA at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. Jarrar is one of four Palestinian artists featured in the exhibition, which has been organised in conjunction with the Mission of Palestine in Paris.
All the artists reflect on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Jarrar’s installation, A Hole in the Wall, also includes a broken football, alluding to the loss of freedom, and three videos. The first captures a mother caressing the hands of her daughter, who is on the other side of the separation barrier, through a crack in the wall. It’s a saddening piece about families being cut off from each other. In another, the artist is breaking part of the wall with a hammer.
Larissa Sansour-Nation State, the artist in front of her piece.
In Underground Evolution, Shadi Al Zaqzouq imagines Palestinians being able to move freely underground as if they were moles, popping up wherever they wanted without being subjected to Israeli checkpoints. The artist has made a sculptural installation of a pair of male legs coming out of a mole hill and photographs of Palestinians climbing out of molehills in front of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. It’s a humorous way of commenting on the restrictions facing Palestinians on a daily basis.
Larissa Sansour’s photography series, Nation State, is an ironic meditation on the Palestinian diaspora, a desire for freedom of travel and what should constitute a nation state. In some of the images, the artist is standing with a suitcase, trying to reach somewhere. In another, she is watering an olive tree that has grown inside an apartment, a view of Al-Aqsa Mosque in the distance.
Bashir Makhoul, Otherwise Occupied, the artist in front of his piece.
In a space at the end of the exhibition is Bashir Makhoul’s installation, Otherwise Occupied, about Jewish settlements proliferating in the occupied West Bank. First presented in Venice in 2013 in the exhibition Palestine at Venice, it comprises hundreds of stacked cardboard boxes, some with Arabic words or intifada written on them.
Curated by Shereen Suleiman and Fadi Toufiq, this is the third exhibition dedicated to Palestine since the IMA, designed by Jean Nouvel, was inaugurated in 1987 by François Mitterrand. Today, its president is Jack Lang, who served as Mitterrand’s culture minister.
Khaled Jarrar, Hole in the Wall.
Shadi Al Zaqzouq, Underground Evolution.
On 17 March 2016, the IMA will present a line-up about Gaza. There’ll be a screening of Dégradé by twin brothers Tarzan and Arab Nasser (first shown at last year’s Cannes Film Festival), a scientific symposium about society and politics between war and peace, and a debate about the engagement, siege and daily life in Gaza. A concert by Palestinian Unit, featuring the groups Watar Band and Palestinian Rapperz, will take place on 18 March 2016.
All images by Sandra Beauchard.
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