SOUTH WEST BANK – Landworks, Collective Action and Sound

20.04.2024 > 24.11.2024

Selected as a Collateral Event of the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia
curated by Jonathan Turner
organized by Artists + Allies x Hebron
in collaboration with Dar Jacir for Art and Research in Bethlehem
Magazzino Gallery, Palazzo Polignac, Dorsoduro 878

SOUTH WEST BANK – Landworks, Collective Action and Sound is an exhibition which focuses on works produced by artists, collectives and allies in and around the southern West Bank in Palestine.

The participating artists look at aspects of land, agriculture and heritage in a rapidly ever-shifting topography. The artists share a voice centered on historical transmissions of memory and collectivity. The works embody the idea that ‘home’ is strongly rooted in many traditional practices, a reinforcement of the Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere theme of the Biennale Arte 2024 as proposed by its artistic director Adriano Pedrosa.

The works further strengthen the connection of expressions and cultural identities within changing urban and agricultural landscapes. They communicate farming practices, indigenous growing and gathering methods, and the practices of human and non-human rhythms as a sensory resistance. A significance is placed on dance, music and rhythm as a form of poetry, resistance and sustenance. The exhibition highlights sound narratives manifesting the symbiosis between vegetation and nature.

“The intent is to look at process-based artistic practice being produced by Palestinian artists and allies in the southern West Bank, an area which is often culturally over- looked,” according to curator Jonathan Turner. “Our exhibition is particularly focused on collectives and a multi-faceted approach, from photographs and videos documenting aspects of daily life and resilience against a background of conflict, to performance projects which find their voice as they develop. It plots change over time in a shifting landscape. The artworks, publications, moving images, soundworks and sculptures clearly reveal the strength and value of inventiveness, propositive thought and open research in the current climate.”

The exhibition includes photographs, installations, archival images and videos from several land projects initiated by artists; the works from a seed conservation initiative, a permaculture designer and educator, documentation of rural life and practices, the cultivation, neglect and destruction of traditional olive groves, and discussions of biodiversity and heirloom varieties. It also focuses on literary writing and documentation, dance as a form of collective making and artistic practice, and other works that place a strong emphasis on sound-making. Central to the work of the artists presented by Dar Jacir for Art and Research are discussions, gatherings and the fostering of exchange and intimacy in their artistic process.

The works produced at Dar Jacir reflect the transgenerational nature of our practice and the interdisciplinary connections between us all. Through our space conversations unfold across many years and we insist on maintaining the global interconnectedness that has always been part of the history of Bethlehem. For the past 10 years at Dar Jacir we have fostered in depth relationships and exchanges with Chile, southern Italy and Ireland. Also our insistence of our belonging to the Mediterranean is an integral aspect to the works.
– Emily Jacir, founding director

Meanwhile, Artists + Allies x Hebron aims to draw the attention of the international community to the situation in Hebron H2, where Israel exercises military control to monitor every aspect of Palestinian life throughout the West Bank. It focuses on engagement to gain a genuine and firsthand understanding of the situation on the ground.
All the work presented here was made in a very specific part of the world. The works focus on what should ordinarily be objects, movements and sounds of abundance, joy and collectivity. In this context however, they all acquire a new sense of urgency. A photograph of an olive tree, more than 4,500 years old, which has remained untouched for centuries, suddenly feels so precarious. The hope lies in the collective spirit of how the individual works were made and how the exhibition has evolved.

– Adam Broomberg co-founder of Artists + Allies x Hebron


PH: Emily Jacir and Andrea de Siena: Paesaggio Umano, 2022. Dance performance. © Photo by Nurin Kaoud. Courtesy of the artists.

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