"There is all manner of absence: what existed and is no more, what exists but is not perceived, and what exists but is repressed. These last two are the most fraught with socio-political power asymmetries, and are the ones often uncovered by Jacir. These forms of absence are often compounded sequentially, and structured by the double absence of the Palestinian exile, the physical and the discursive: Exiles, refugees, and their children are removed and distanced in stages from their home: some were exiled in 1948 to Arab countries, to be further exiled in 1982 from Lebanon, in 2008 from Iraq, and now from Syria, into further and farther exiles such as Chile and Scandinavia; or into the depths of the Mediterranean. Other refugees displaced inside Palestine are made refugees in successive generations, as Israel’s perpetual ground and air campaigns against Gaza render them persistently homeless. The founding absence of the refugee is compounded, increased in stages. The other absence is the discursive -exacerbated for exiles living in the West where their condition and history is often elided and negated, its expression censored or dismissed as meaningless noise. Asserting presence becomes a process of sedimenting visibility and of accumulating discursive claims. Emily Jacir’s artistic conjuring of presence from absence is deployed across diverse themes and geographical settings, with invisibility encompassing historical events, political realities, bodies, capacities, and commonalities. Her acts of discovery interpellate viewers, buttonhole them."
- Excerpt from 'Stages of Absence and Reappearance' by Adila Laïdi-Hanieh
Emily Jacir, A star is as far as the eye can see and as near as my eye is to me,
Published by Darat al Funun - The Khalid Shoman Foundation, 2015