On This Land

On This Land originated with the Birzeit-based Palestinian Museum, which had been planning a show on the cultural legacy of Gaza. That exhibition, like much else, has a precarious future.

In this moment of deadlock, collaboration appears to be the most potent antidote. The Palestinian Museum, the Barjeel Art Foundation, and Alserkal Arts Foundation have spirited On This Land to life in two weeks.

This unrehearsed dialogue between modern and contemporary art and photographic archives has dual intent. First, to create a space for informed contemplation: visitors access an unexpected window onto Gaza, prompted to imagine a possible future through the prism of a past made manifest. Second, On This Land harnesses the power of spontaneous collaboration not only to protect what is being silenced, but to generate a triangulated and amplied response.

‘We have on this land that which makes life worth living’ is the opening line of another Darwish poem, one that those who know this terrain will have commied to memory.

The Palestinian Museum Digital Archive

This is a selection of 68 photographs of Gaza from the Palestinian Museum Digital Archive. These photographs documenting Gaza’s quotidian life are selected from 17 personal and institutional collections out of more than 400 that comprise the archive.

The Palestinian Museum Digital Archive was launched to collect various documents including identication papers, ocial records, leers, diaries, manuscripts, maps, photographs, lms, and audio recordings that were under threat of loss, damage, or conscation. Such items were digied and made widely available on a website open for users inside Palestine and abroad in Arabic and English, to shed light on aspects of Palestinian life, history, and legacy. A visitor can browse the Archive by exploring the dierent collections oered by hundreds of Palestinians to be saved for future generations. One can also navigate the website through topics that summarise many aspects of Palestinian life such as culture & arts, resistance & struggle, displacement & diaspora, social & organisational movement, everyday life, education & extracurricular activities, women, and others. The Palestinian Museum Digital Archive sheds light on a timeline of over two centuries of Palestinian narratives told from a history-from-below perspective. It focuses on the average Palestinian who might be overlooked or distanced by history. The project also aims to promote a culture of safekeeping and digital archiving, as well as raise awareness about the importance of archives and their limitless possibilities.

Barjeel Art Foundation is an independent, Sharjah-based initiative established by Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi in 2010 to manage, preserve and exhibit an extensive collection of over 1,200 pieces of Modern and Contemporary Art from North Africa and West Asia. The foundation’s guiding principle is to foster critical dialogue around modern and contemporary art practices, with a focus on artists with Arab heritage internationally. The foundation strives to create an open-ended inquiry that responds to and conveys the nuances inherent to Arab histories beyond the borders of culture and geography.

Alserkal Arts Foundation is an independent non-prot dedicated to instigating new knowledge through support for research and cultural production. The Foundation commissions artistic projects, hosts and conceptualises exhibitions, and supports alternative learning. Its cross-disciplinary, research-led residencies are open to researchers, writers, and artists, and its Research Grants are awarded to individuals and collectives who disrupt conventional models and methods.

Participating Artists

Nahil Bshara, Sliman Mansour, Layan Shuabkeh, Faten Alfred Al-Toubasi, Samia Halabi, Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, Ismail Shammout, Laila Al-Shawa, Abdelkader Al-Rais, Abdelhalim Al Radwi, Jameela Bint Mohammed, Wafiq Sharaf, Marwan Qassab Bashi, Naeem Ismail, Larissa Sansour, Ahmed Kanaan, Diaa Al-Azzawi, Sami Mohammed, Khaled Jarar, Khaled Hourani, Majd Abdelhamid, Walid Al-Wawi, Taysir Al-Batniji, Mona Hatoum, Jomana Manna, Jafar Al-Khaldi, Mona Al-Saudi, Suad Malhas, Soha Shoman, Samira Badran, Samia Al-Zaru, and others.

To watch On This Land Exhibition tour with Faris Shomali click here

To watch On This Land Exhibition tour with Sultan Al-Qassemi click here