Darat al Funun presents Alive in the Dead Sea (1995-2015), the second exhibition exploring the history of art in the region, the relationship between art and political and historical transformations, and the dialogue between art and literature, music, and cinema, through the artworks of The Khalid Shoman Collection. The first exhibition was Rituals of Signs and Transitions (1975-1995) and covered the decades between 1975 and 1995. We now continue with the second part, covering the past twenty years. Alive in the Dead Sea (1995-2015) takes its name from the book by Jordanian author Munes al Razzaz, which presents an important, albeit harsh, testimony about the reality of the current state of the Arabs in the post-colonial era we live in today.
The exhibition Alive in the Dead Sea (1995-2015) showcases Arab art created at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century, and documents or responds to political and social outcomes that are the result of past and present events, as well as their connection with literary, musical, and cinematic productions of the time.
The first five years between 1995-2000 witnessed a period of relative calm, as if in preparation for an upheaval that would transform the world as we know it. The second Palestinian Intifada ignited in 2000. The Twin Towers in New York were attacked in 2001. Israel started building the separation wall in 2002. Iraq was invaded in 2003. This was followed by a series of assassinations and bombings in Lebanon and simultaneous suicide attacks in Amman in 2005, and culminated in the Israeli war on Lebanon in the summer of 2006 and the Israeli war on Gaza in 2008. The Arab Spring started in 2011, the outcomes of which are still reverberating today, especially in Syria. These events changed the paths of individuals, countries, and the world, and at the same time nourished various artistic practices in efforts to document the transitions we live through.
The period in question was the starting point for the wider dissemination of various "post-modern" ways of practicing art, including video art, installation art, photography and conceptual art, in an attempt to better understand the world, and utilize a mode of expression in connection with pivotal issues, such as the Palestinian cause and Arab liberation. These artworks stimulate discussion surrounding the aesthetics of our modern era.
The exhibition Alive in the Dead Sea (1995-2015) revives the attempts at liberation through art, literature, visual, and cinematic productions, and reaffirms the role of art and its connection with our individual and collective histories.
Artists from The Khalid Shoman Collection included in the exhibition are Abdul Hay Mosallam, Adel Abidin, Adnan Yahya, Ahlam Shibli, Amal Kenawy, Asunción Molinos Gordo, Burak Delier, Buthayna Ali, Hrair Sarkissian, James Webb, Jumana Emil Abboud, Moataz Nasr, Mohammad Hawajri, Nida Sinnokrot, Oraib Toukan, Randa Mirza, Raed Ibrahim, Rheim Alkadhi, Rula Halawani, Salah Saouli, Suha Shoman, Wael Shawky, and Walid Raad/The Atlas Group.
In addition, there are relevant works of The Khalid Shoman Collection outside by Emily Jacir, Gilles Fontolliet, Hamdi Attia, Hani Alqam, and Rayyane Tabet.
Image: Abdul Hay Mosallam, Jerusalem Calling, 2008.