Chicago: Palestine-Ireland Art Exhibit Opens

The Gallery 400 exhibition “Settlement: A Project of the Culture & Conflict Group”, which opens on November 20, will bring together the work of eight artists from Palestine, Ireland and the United States.

Emily Jacir, “Memorial to 418 Palestinian Villages which were Destroyed, Depopulated and Occupied by Israel in 1948”, 2001, refugee tent, embroidery thread

The exhibition will explore the impact and effects of military occupation, faltering attempts at settlement, and the importance of history and memory in both regions, drawing comparisons and parallels where necessary. This project acknowledges that artists are not ‘neutral’ beings divorced from social and political realities, but often hold partisan viewpoints which are articulated through numerous and complex strategies.

Public space, such as that which is characterized through the format of the exhibition, is often shaped through debate and conflicting views and it is the aim of this exhibition to forge public space by raising questions on issues of history, war and representation. Through focusing on the work of the ‘other’, the colonized and the dispossessed, we hope to broaden the scope of debate through the presentation of alternative viewpoints to those which currently dominate.

Ayreen Anastas explores ideas of nationality and exile through the use of audio and text-based installations.

Emily Jacir uses installation, video and sound to explore the ongoing nature of the Palestinian experience in terms of displacement, exile and continuing occupation.

Shane Cullen uses installation and text in order to create monuments to largely ignored or suppressed aspects of recent Irish history, such as the 1981 Hunger Strike in which ten political prisoners starved to death in protest over conditions in Long Kesh prison.

Cynthia Large will exhibit a sculpted box, which contains painted images referring to the ‘portable history’ of people displaced from their land and their homes.

Conor McGrady makes drawings that explore the impact of militarization and colonization in the north of Ireland, and which parallel a similar situation in the occupied territories of Palestine.

Kevin Noble uses media images of cultural and intellectual figures who have impacted the situation in the Middle East in order to question the role of culture in war.

Frankie Quinn uses photography to document the impact of war on the lives of ordinary people in Belfast and in the occupied territories.

Nasri Zakharia produces video work that explores the scapegoating of Arab Americans, and graphic work that responds to the recent intifada.

The Culture & Conflict Group was formed in 1998 with the intent to explore the intersection between art and politics in contemporary society and to challenge the assumption that art is neutral in any given context.

The group has organized a number of exhibitions specifically focusing on the Irish conflict. British Architecture in Ireland was shown at the Puffin Room in New York in 1998. In 2000, Ambiguous Authority, a group show featuring artists from Ireland, Britian and the U.S. was held at Beacon Street gallery in Chicago. Unlimited Partnerships was shown at Cepa Gallery in Buffalo, NY.

Settlement: A Project of the Culture & Conflict Group, November 19 - 30, 2002, Opening Reception Wednesday, November 20, 4 - 7 PM

Gallery 400 at University of Illinois, Chicago
400 North Peoria Street
Phone: 312 996 6114