-Manal Mahamid
The Palestinian Gazelle - Sculpture, 2016
Fiberglass, 200 x 170 x 70 cm
-Manal Mahamid
Haifa Sea, 2017,Mixed media,60x82 cm.
Courtesy of the artist
This art work reflects the theme of "The Unrecognizable Landscape"

The Unrecognizable Landscape

The landscape appears to us now as unrecognizable. The works of Samira Badran, Tawfiq Jawharieh and Larissa Sansour, each made in a different era are juxtaposed to visually suggest an unrecognizable landscape. Samira Badran’sJerusalem, created in the 1970s after the occupation of East Jerusalem, In this painting, the city is unrecognizable, disintegrated into an array of haunting structures in which the ancient architecture and ruins have metamorphized into dysfunctional mechanical forms. Divorced from any surrounding landscape, the city appears as it might on doomsday. Self-Portrait by Badran also from the same period shows the interior and exterior of the body which seems to have grown into one, as the rib cage has become a garment- at once both decorative and reminiscent of contraptions of imprisonment and torture. The giant lone figure appears to wander alone along the coastline, in an unknown and indeterminate landscape.

Manal Mahamid, Palestinian Gazelle, named Israeli Gazelle in the zoo, looks at first glance, like and ordinary gazelle, however it is on closer observation we notice its amputated leg. The gazelle appears as a mutation, incomplete, domesticated and tamed and now an uncomfortable oddity in the zoo contained in a fabricated enclosure, of a spectacle of species from the ‘natural landscape.’ Asad Azi’s work Hunt I shows animal violence in the landscape, the harsh and brutal moment of attack and survival. By distilling violent acts in the painting, he reminds us that the landscape is not a place of picturesque nostalgia but also is a space of power and survival of animal hierarchies.

Tawfiq Jawharieh’s landscapes created c1930, propose a surreal Palestinian landscape, could this be Palestine? Serene lake, classical architecture, a landscape of picturesque Cypress trees, a moonlight seascape? These contemplative landscapes underline landscape as space of imaginings and fantasy, a site of projected dreams. This question of the moulding, and construction of fictions of landscapes is one of the central themes in Larissa Sansour’s film, In the FutureThey Ate from the Finest Porcelain. The film places us in a future landscape in which the narrative unfolds between a resistance leader and psychiatrist. In the film, a resistance group sets out to create a future history for a fictional civilisation by depositing fine porcelain in the landscape to support its claim as a people
before being eradicated.

Returning us full cycle to the question, what are our dreams and visions of the past and the future?