Feature: Int'l art exhibition in Palestine poses questions over statehood building

Source: Xinhua| 2018-07-05 20:57:00|Editor: zh
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by Fatima Aruri

RAMALLAH, July 5 (Xinhua) -- A group exhibition in Palestine poses the question of how Palestinians view their lives with the growing neo-liberal trends, consumerism and capitalism affecting their plight for statehood.

The exhibition "Subcontracted Nations," held in a newly opened building of the Abdel Mohsen Qattan Foundation, showed 53 works by international artists.

The works are under a general theme covering domestic processes of services that state authorities passed on to privatization, such as transport, health, public parking and schooling.

The selected works stirred questions and debates on the new obligation of state authorities and the transforming of political and social rhetoric with the fast economic movement. The question for Palestinians means much more, because they are still viewed as stateless.

Assistant curator of the exhibition Abed Al-Rahman Shabane told Xinhua that the show's main message springs from the fact that the Palestinians are standing at a critical point in their history towards statehood, "what does the notion of the state stand for as the modern state forms are changing rapidly?"

Shabaneh said what the exhibition displays is in light of fragmentation that is witnessed worldwide, not just locally.

The works mostly touched on socio-economic moves, the transformations that impacted the day-to-day practices, and the political structures and their meanings.

One of the artworks is composed of two independent installations: one part is a video and the other an audio track that questions the generation gap and different understandings of the political discourse.

The video installation is a screening of footage of villages and towns in the West Bank filmed in 1991 by Swiss artist Julien Schmidt, towards the end of the first Palestinian popular uprising, the Intifada, and the audio installation is a series of interviews with people from the filmed locations in 2017 by Palestinian filmmaker May Odeh.

Odeh told Xinhua that once she learnt of the exhibition's theme, she decided to respond to the call together with Schmidt after a one year search for people appearing in the 26-year-old footage.

She and Schmidt "wanted to put the conflict between time and space out for debate because we do believe that there is a huge gap between the official rhetoric and the ordinary people's discourse in the street."

The question posed by the art work came as striking as the big building that hosted the exhibition, as many people question the growing consumerist life styles of growing dependency on the notion of "ready-made lifestyles" in the Palestinian society.

The Qattan foundation opened its new building on the West Bank city of Ramallah last week, as a hub for the public in culture and scientific innovation.