press release

September 11, 2021–January 15, 2022

Palestine from Above

The A.M. Qattan Foundation (AMQF) opens its newest exhibition Palestine from Above on Saturday, September 11, 2021. The exhibition showcases contemporary artworks by local and international artists and practitioners, and also displays archival and historical materials relating to the collaborative research project “Palestine from Above,” curated by a committee comprising Zeynep Çelik, Salim Tamari, Zeinab Azarbadegan and Yazid Anani.

In its curatorial statement, the committee contends that “viewing Palestine from the sky is historically part of a clear colonial war of subjugation and control, waged through cutting-edge photography, cartography, remote sensing and surveillance, hand-in-hand with the operations of armies on the ground. In contemporary times, it has become a complex technology of security, hence deterrence. Therefore, reading the aerial gaze on Palestinian geography does not only concern itself with the interpretation of what is depicted on aerial photographs, maps, or films. It requires scrutinising the politics behind placing technology up in the sky, and the reasons behind the generation of these images. What has been produced from the sky cannot be understood without contextualising and examining it in terms of the realities on the ground, unseen from the sky.”

Accordingly, the exhibition juxtaposes historic material with films and artworks. Archival material depicting power and colonial hegemony is unpacked, and sometimes subverted by artistic means, which dismantle colonial, historical and contemporary constructs. In 2020 and 2021, as part of the overarching research project, the AMQF partnered with the Institute for Palestine Studies resulting in the publication two special issues (81 and 82) of the Jerusalem Quarterly. AMQF also organised a lecture by Eyal Weizman entitled “Aerial Cartography at the Threshold of Detectability” as part of the same project.

The exhibition shows works by: Amer Shomali and Dia’ Azzeh, Andrew Yip, DAAR/Decolonizing Architecture Art Research (Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti), Gian Spina, Jack Persekian, Khaled Hourani, Khaled Jarrar, Nida Sinnokrot, Riwaq – Centre for Architectural Conservation (Mohannad Yaqubi), Soledad Salamé, Sophie Ernst and Sophie Halabi. Films by Dima Abu Ghoush, Forensic Architecture, Irene Anastas and Rene Gabri, Kamal Jaafari, Lumière brothers, Nahed Awwad, Nida Sinnokrot, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Raed Helou (Rosa Luxemburg Foundation), Rania Stephan, Studio CAMP (Shaina Anand, Ashok Sukumaran and Nida Ghouse) will also be presented. In addition artworks and memorabilia from the collections of the Fawzi Nastas Sculpture Studio and the George Al Ama Collection are also presented.

The exhibition runs from September 11, 2021, to January 15, 2022, and is housed at the Qattan Cultural Centre in Ramallah. Doors are open daily from 11am to 7pm excluding Fridays and Sundays. An accompanying series of events shall be announced on the AMQF’s social media and website.