A conversation with Reem Fadda, Emily Jacir, and Beshara Doumani
Moderated by Lila Abu-Lughod and Brian Boyd, Columbia University
Jerusalem Lives was the title of the inaugural exhibition (opened August 2017) at the new Palestinian Museum in Birzeit. We are pleased to bring to Columbia Reem Fadda, the internationally recognized curator of Jerusalem Lives, Emily Jacir, a leading Palestinian artist whose work was featured, and Professor Beshara Doumani, Brown University, an historian who was instrumental in setting the course for the Palestinian Museum. They will explore the challenges to current politics of this innovative and hard-hitting exhibit that brought together artists, scholars, and community groups inside and outside of the museum. Why Jerusalem now? And what can this ambitious new cultural institution in Palestine do and be? Can the Museum connect a people and vitalize community? In the context of Israeli rule and a scattered nation, how will it work with other Palestinian cultural and community projects to educate local and international publics, preserve heritage, document Palestinian pasts and presents, articulate political aspirations, and spark the imagination of justice?
Reception to follow.
Reem Fadda is an independent curator based in Ramallah and curator of Jerusalem Lives at the Palestinian Museum (August 2017-January 2018) who received the 2017 Walther Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement. Fadda worked at the Guggenheim Museum from 2010-2016 as Associate Curator, Middle Eastern Art, Abu Dhabi Project. From 2005 to 2007, she directed the Palestinian Association for Contemporary Art (PACA) and was Academic Director of the International Academy of Art Palestine, which she helped found in 2006. She has been involved in numerous international exhibitions including Liminal Spaces, a four-year artistic and political project consisting of conferences, tours, art residencies, and exhibitions in Palestine, Israel, and Germany; Ramallah Syndrome, part of the Venice Biennale in 2009; and Tarjama/Translation, organized by ArteEast featuring 30 artists from the Middle East and Central Asia at the Queens Museum of Art, New York and the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University.
Emily Jacir is an internationally recognized and stunningly creative Palestinian artist and filmmaker whose work addresses silenced historical narratives, translation, resistance, transformation, movement, and exchange. Recipient of many awards including the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale (2007), the Prince Claus Award (2007), the Hugo Boss Prize (2008), the Herb Alpert Award (2011), the Rome Prize (2015), and a Bellagio Center Creative Arts Fellowship, her most recent site-specific installations include “Notes for a Cannon” (Ireland) and Via Crucis (Milan). Emily Jacir has had solo exhibitions at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Darat il Funun, Amman; Beirut Art Center; and the Guggenheim Museum, New York. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; dOCUMENTA (13); and five Venice Biennales. “Europa,” her survey exhibition at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (2016-17) features such works as the installation ex libris—a memorial to the approximately thirty thousand books from Palestinian homes, libraries, and institutions that were looted by Israeli authorities in 1948. Jacir is now transforming her family’s historic 19th-century home in the West Bank into an independent exhibition space and community center that will also archive the Jacir Ottoman archives, a rare collection of photos and texts.
Beshara Doumani is the Joukowsky Family Distinguished Professor of Modern Middle East History and Director of Middle East Studies at Brown University. He is the author of Rediscovering Palestine: Merchants and Peasants in Jabal Nablus, 1700-1900 and Family Life in the Ottoman Mediterranean: A Social History, among other books. He is the editor of the book series, New Directions in Palestinian Studies. Doumani is also a public intellectual who writes on current events in the Middle East, on the ethics of knowledge production, and on the relationship between culture and politics. He led a team that produced a strategic plan in 2010 for the establishment of the Palestinian Museum.
The event is co-sponsored by the Middle East Institute, Museum Anthropology Program, School of the Arts, Studio-X Amman at Columbia GSAPP, Columbia Global Centers, and the Palestinian Museum.