Rituals of Signs and Transitions (1975-1995)

Rituals of Signs and Transitions (1975-1995) questions the significance history of art has in our region today, investigates the relationship between art works and political and historical transitions at the time, and looks at the exchange between art works with other forms of expression, such as literature, music, and cinema.

The period between 1975 and 1995 proved to be crucial in the formation of the modern Arab world. The period began with the Lebanese Civil War, was further marked by the first Palestinian Intifada in 1987 and the 1991 Gulf War, and ended with the signing of the 1993 Oslo Agreement and the 1994 Wadi Araba Treaty. These events marked the paths of people and nations, and encouraged various artistic practices to record the transitions that we are still living through now.

In 1994, after learning he had cancer, Syrian playwright Saadallah Wannous wrote Rituals of Signs and Transitions, which gave its name to this exhibition. This is one of the most crucial works of art confronting the use of politics in religious dialogue, and can be regarded as a prophecy today. It stands as an example of what art has the potential to reveal.

Rituals of Signs and Transitions (1975-1995) revives art, books, and visual and audio productions as an affirmation of the role of art in shaping our individual and collective histories.

Artists from The Khalid Shoman Collection: Abderrazak Sahli, Adam Henein, Adnan Yahya, Ahmad Nawash, Ali Jabri, Aziz Amoura, Chaouki Choukini, Dia Azzawi, Etel Adnan, Fouad el Khoury, Gouider Triki, Ismail Fattah, Issam al Said, Jananne Al-Ani, Jumana el Husseini, Laila Shawa, Marwan, Mohamed Kacimi, Mohammad Omar Khalil, Mona Hatoum, Nabila Hilmi, Nasser Soumi, Nedim Kufi Mohsen, Samia Halaby, Shaker Hassan al Said, Suleiman Mansour, Vera Tamari, Youssef Abdelké.

In addition, there are relevant works from The Khalid Shoman Collection on permanent display by Abdul Hay Mosallam, Fahrelnissa Zeid, Fateh al Moudarres, Himat Ali, Ismail Shammout, Rafa’ al Nasiri, and Ziad Dalloul.

Also shown is a selection edited by Emily Jacir from the salvaged rushes for Tel al Zaatar (1977), together with documentation of the 2013-2014 restoration of these rushes at the Archivio Audiovisivo del Movimento Operaio e Democratico (AAMOD) in Rome by Jacir and Monica Maurer. A Palestinian and Italian co-production directed by Mustafa Abu Ali, Pino Adriano and Jean Chamoun, Tel al Zaatar was filmed in 1976 directly following the August 1976 massacre of over 1,000 Palestinians and Lebanese at Tel al Zaatar, a UN-administered refugee camp in northeast Beirut. Abu Ali and Chamoun edited the footage in Rome for six months in 1977, and the rushes afterwards remained untouched in the archives for 36 years.

Begun in the early eighties, the Khalid Shoman Collection is one of the earliest collections dedicated exclusively to contemporary art of the Arab world. This extensive publication brings together the voices of artists, architects, curators, art critics, and scholars to reflect on the Khalid Shoman Collection and its potential role in narrating a regional art history. The book consists of three interwoven parts: (1) academic essays by scholars from different disciplines examining a range of art historical concerns through art works from the Collection, (2) personal reflections by artists, curators, critics, and scholars who have lived the history of Darat al Funun, and (3) the works by the over one hundred and forty artists forming the Collection, reflecting the shifts and transformations in the region's artistic practices over the last four decades.

You can buy the book at Darat al Funun, or online via Ideabooks.


Fellow Talk: Ted McDonald-Toone
Saturday 25 July 2015 | Blue House 6:30 pm

Ted McDonald-Toone will talk about his recent research on the history of exhibitions of contemporary art from the Arab world, which has focused partly on how museums and other exhibition-making organisations have attempted to 'represent' the Arab world in the form of pan-regional exhibitions. He will also consider how Darat al Funun, as an institution unique to Amman and its national and regional contexts, has used exhibitions across its history, including the current one, 'Rituals of Signs and Transitions (1975-1995)'.
Concert: “Mousiaana” | Volume 2
Tuesday 28 July 2015 | Archaeological Site 7:30 PM

After over a month of intensive training with Jordanian musician Tarek Al-Jundi, participants of the music workshop will present a live concert of Arabic classical music. The workshop is a continuation of work that started last year, and consists of lessons on collective and individual singing skills, musical sight reading, rhythm, playing the melodica, and music appreciation.

Exhibition: Works from the Drawing Workshop
1 - 30 July 2015 | at the Lab

This month showcases the results of the drawing workshop "color your ideas" held at Darat al Funun in May, in collaboration with the British Council as part of the "Nahnou Together" program. Under the guidance of artist Raed Ibrahim, participants of ages 13 - 18 were asked to express their dreams, stories and personal ideas in drawing.
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Opening Hours

Darat al Funun's opening hours during the month of Ramadan are from 10 am - 4 pm, Saturday to Thursday. We will close our doors during the Eid al Fitr holidays, and re-open from 10 am - 7 pm until July 31st.

Darat al Funun will close for its annual vacation in August and will re-open on September 1st, 2015.

Darat al Funun - The Khalid Shoman Foundation

13 Nadeem al Mallah st. (main entrance)
9 Moh'd Ali al Saadi st. (upper entrance)
Jabal al Weibdeh

Saturday - Thursday / 10:00AM - 7:00PM
Ramadan hours: 10:00 AM - 3:00PM

P.O.Box 5223, Amman 11183, Jordan
Tel.: 962 6 4643251 / 2
Fax: 962 6 4643253
darat@daratalfunun.org