Art, Music & Culture

Interview with Suheir Hammad

Christopher Brown
8 June 2006

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I think that poetry tries to make a connection between the absences and the losses that I feel in my person, and make the connection to the body feeling detached or feeling displaced, and the reality of land and shelter and the idea of the continuity of citizenship and the idea of ancestry. I think reclaiming is an ambitious agenda - if you’re beginning to write a poem, will you actually be reclaiming the rights to a land or a nation and other rights to citizenship? So I think the work succeeds more when it’s about illuminating this detachment.

"Three Arab Painters in New York" to open in New York City

Maymanah Farhat
31 May 2006

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Three Arab Painters in New York is an art exhibition that features the work of three leading New York-based Arab painters. Samia Halaby, Sumayyah Samaha and Athir Shayota have been contributing to contemporary American art for decades and have exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States. Varied in style, technique, medium, scale and artistic influence, the three present a glimpse into the diverse and complex nature of the Arab World’s art and visual culture.

Gaza artist opens "Fathers" exhibition

Sami Abu Salem
31 May 2006

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Mr. Alain Rémy, the French Consul General in Jerusalem, and Moein Sadeq, the deputy general of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquity (MTA) joined many people, including children, to gather under fluttering Palestinian and French flags at the door of the little museum of Qasr Albasha in the old city of Gaza. They gathered not for politics, but to celebrate the new exhibition, “Fathers,” by the Gazan artist Taysir Batniji, hosted at the museum under the patronage of the French Cultural Centre (CCF) and the MTA.

Film Review: "Bethlehem Bandolero"

Maymanah Farhat
18 May 2006

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Bethlehem Bandolero is a quirky six-minute short by Palestinian filmmaker Larissa Sansour. In the role of a “Mexican gunslinger” that could be straight out of a Spaghetti Western, Sansour’s performance captures the irrationality of Israel’s building of a twenty-five foot “security” wall as means of seeking “peace” with Palestinians. Sansour confronts the illogic of the situation with her own demonstration of absurdity in a witty but bizarre journey in her native Palestine where she takes on the wall in a High Noon-like duel, dressed in a pistol-toting getup that includes a large red sombrero and a black and white polka-dot bandana that covers her face.

Film Review: "Last Supper (Abu Dis)"

Maymanah Farhat
19 May 2006

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Issa Freij and Nicolas Wadimoff’s documentary Last Supper (Abu Dis) examines a Palestinian village on the outskirts of Jerusalem that is slowly being enclosed by the Israeli apartheid wall. The twenty-six minute film exposes the violations of human rights that are resulting from the supposed “security” measurements the Israeli government has taken over the past six years. As the wall expands, Palestinians continue to be cut off from their communities, land, farms, families and social infrastructures.

Groundbreaking Syrian film festival doesn't overlook the Palestinian question

11 May 2006

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This week, international arts nonprofit ArteEast saw the beginning of its North American tour of “Lens on Syria: Thirty Years of Contemporary Cinema”, a groundbreaking exploration of Syrian cinema. “Lens on Syria” showcases over 30 Syrian feature films, documentaries and shorts, many subtitled in English and screening for the first time in the US. Often described as Arab cinema’s “best kept secret”, ArteEast’s Syrian cinema series provides an unprecedented opportunity for audiences in New York to discover a politically timely and relevant program.

Film Review: The Chicago Palestine Film Festival's Evening of Shorts

Maymanah Farhat
11 May 2006

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Rina Khoury’s West…East, is a nine minute narrative film about the Palestinian catastrophe that is told through the journey of a blind woman and her son, amidst an ambiguous landscape. Enas Muthaffar’s East…West is a sixteen minute documentary film that chronicles her family’s expulsion from their home as the apartheid wall encroaches nearby and threatens to segregate them from their community. Both films were shown in conjunction with two short films by Annemarie Jacir, Some Crumbs for the Birds and An Explanation (and then burn the ashes).

Film Review: Rashid Masharawi's "Waiting"

Ali Abunimah
8 May 2006

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A young woman stands before a camera refusing to take the chair the director has set up. He asks why? “I have come to sing,” she says. Irritated, the director orders her, “You must act, didn’t they tell you we are looking for actors here?” With calm assertion she insists, “I do not know how to act. I have come to sing. Come on, you film and I will sing…” This scene illustrates a main theme running through Rashid Masharawi’s latest feature film Waiting: Palestinians forced to speak from someone else’s script, writes Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah in this review of Masharawi’s latest feature which had its Chicago premiere at the Chicago Palestine Film Festival 2006.

FAST Conference: Reconstruction of Memory

25 April 2006

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Preservation projects can be as emblematic as the destruction that induces them. Construction can be used both to reinforce a violent separation of the built environment and destroy the fabric of a former life. The FAST conference on May 14 in Amsterdam will form an inquiry into the ways preservation projects are being appropriated by official institutions in order to promote ideological and political agendas. Some torn threads of antiquity include the destruction of Muslim history, religious monuments and buildings in Bosnia; the destruction of black history and heritage in South Africa under the apartheid regime; and the destruction and distortion of Palestinian past after the creation of the State of Israel. A poignant example of this eradication of local memory is the village of Lifta.

Review: "The Wall and the Checkpoints"

Maureen Clare Murphy
24 April 2006

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In the near future, it would be worth doing a follow-up exhibition to The Wall and the Checkpoints, recently shown at the Darat al Funun in Amman, Jordan, which featured Palestinian artists’ work on that theme. To the individual fresh from the borders and checkpoints of the occupied Palestinian territories, the artwork already begs to be updated, for Israel’s grip there is becoming that more tight. Indeed, it is this timeliness that gives the work a sense of urgency.

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