Jerusalem 0.0km and Picasso in Ramallah New Projects at the International Academy of Art, Palestine
The International Academy of Art in Ramallah is not only a place
for teaching and learning about contemporary art but also a catalyst for art
production and creative thinking in Palestine. Via its initiatives and
projects, the academy is working to advance the integration and understanding
of contemporary art in Palestine and to engage the international community in
the current Palestinian reality. Two projects, Jerusalem 0.0km and Picasso in
Ramallah, which are the brainchild of the academy’s artistic director Khaled
Hourani, are currently under way and attempt to address the question of
Jerusalem and art in Palestine.
Jerusalem 0.0km, funded by Jerusalem - Capital of Arab Culture
2009, materialises the place and relationship that Jerusalem holds in the imagination
of people in Palestine and throughout the world. Eighty ceramic plates are
being placed across the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, inside the Green Line, and
in cities across the globe that measure the distance from those co-ordinates to
Jerusalem. The plates are made in traditional ceramics that are found in the
Old City of Jerusalem and re-establish the importance of this local craft in
the public sphere. The signs illuminate a radius around the city highlighting
through this artistic project its symbolic importance to all and its position
as the future capital of Palestine.
Picasso in Ramallah is a joint initiative with the Van Abbemuseum
in Eindhoven, Netherlands, which is under the directorship of Charles Esche.
The project aims to bring, for the very first time, an original masterpiece by
Pablo Picasso to Ramallah to be placed on public display at the academy.
Whereas the project may appear straightforward - the aim would
appear normal in any other context - the logistics of being able to borrow and
show an international artwork mean that The Oslo Accords are being re-visited
to understand the legal constitution of the location, Palestinian capabilities
to provide security for the art work and museum context for its display are
being researched, along with international business agreements, which in turn
all highlight the abnormality of the Palestinian reality and question the
nature of the Palestinian entity.
The project revives the legacy of Picasso and his stand against
injustice and takes Picasso on an extraordinary journey to a zone of
disturbance in an attempt to realise the ordinary, which is currently being
documented in film. Once Picasso is finally home again in the Netherlands
collection, the work will go on display as the “Picasso that visited Ramallah.”
Compiled by the International Academy of Art, Palestine.