Qalandiya International III Comes to a Close

Ramallah, Oct 31, 2016: Qalandiya International closes its third edition under the title, This Sea is Mine, in Palestine and the diaspora which took place 5 to 31 October. The comprehensive program launched with 15 exhibition openings and 80 events, in collaboration with 16 art and cultural organizations and the participation of over 200 local and international artists.

Qalandiya International was inaugurated with the opening of 5 exhibitions simultaneously in Haifa, Gaza, Beirut, Amman and London, and in the following days in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem that were running until the final days of October. The program presented ‘Qalandyia Encounters’, a series of symposiums and discussions, both in and outside of Palestine, as well as 60 events, including, performances, symposia, dialogues, tours, book launches, and film screenings. 

The program of events drew vast audiences across all venues. The exhibition in London, ‘Moments of Possibilities:  Air, Land and Sea’ organized by the Palestine regeneration Team (PART) attracted nearly 300 visitors every day. The events program presented by Dar El-Nimer for Arts and Culture in Beirut as well as ‘This Sea is Mine’ featuring 10 Palestinian artists based in Jordan, who were commissioned by Darat al Funun to reflect on the different elements of the theme, has similarly attracted a great deal of public attention.

In Gaza, Eltiqa Group and Shababek for Contemporary Art organized ‘This Sea is Mine’, an exhibition by 13 artists reflecting on the multifaceted meanings of the sea, the only outlet for the people of Gaza, yet it has been metamorphosed into another level. The Arab Culture Association also organized ‘The People of the Sea’ event in Haifa to be one of the first comprehensive photographic exhibitions combining photography, video and media in Palestine. 

On its part, Riwaq proposed an array of un-curated events in the form of hikes, sessions of knowledge exchange, and exhibitions. The International Academy of Art Palestine in collaboration with Birzeit University Museum organized ‘Cities Exhibition 5: Gaza – Reconstruction’ as a rallying call to return to the homeland; particularly, Gaza, which was forcibly excluded from the rest of the world. ‘Pattern Recognition’ attracted a great deal of school children and visitors to explore and appreciate the works nominated for the Young Artist of the Year Award organized by A. M. Qattan Foundation. ‘O Whale, Don’t Swallow Our Moon’ presented an exquisite show for Jumana Emil Abboud at the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center, in which Abboud has conceptually and aesthetically drawn the lines between her works, Palestinian folktales, mythical creatures, and spellbound places. 

Ramallah Municipality organized ‘Sites of Return’ with a diverse programme exploring notions of return, restlessness, rupture, rebellion, and rebirth through an array of exhibitions and performances such as ‘Flight-Jalazone’ by Nida Sinnokrot and ‘Potato Talks’ by Mirna Bamieh. MinRASY PROJECTS added their touch by ‘/Tilted/’, a collection of artworks that have resulted from either moving toward something or in defense of something. Furthermore, The Palestinian Museum, organized a series of symposia, including ‘The Theme of the Sea in Palestinian Art & Culture’ with the participation of a constellation of well-versed authors and writers, as well as a series of Children’s Workshops.

In Jerusalem, a series of walks and tours were organized to partner’s exhibitions around the city. Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art hosted The Jerusalem Show VIII: ‘Before and After Origins’ in addition to a series of encounters like the ‘Australian Aboriginal Tent Embassy’ by Richard Bell. The art walk organized by Al-Hoash ‘RE/viewing Jerusalem #2’ included interventions by seven artists as well as a symposium ‘Space, Knowledge, Art.’ In Bethlehem, Dar Al-Kalima University College of Arts & Culture organized ‘Humans from Palestine: The Karimeh Abbud Award’ as well as a tour and discussion at the ‘Concrete Tent’ by Campus in Camps at Dheisheh refugee camp on the notions of return and asylum.

Qalandiya International is a joint contemporary art event that takes place every two years across Palestinian cities and villages in collaboration with art and cultural organizations. The third edition was supported by organizations of the private sector, namely: Bank of Palestine, Palestine For Development, Bisan Enterprise, Mövenpick Hotel Ramallah, George Al Ama, and Masrouji Group.