Opening of the Second Arab Exhibition in Jerusalem, 1934. Said Husseini Collection, Palestinian Museum Digital Archive.
View from the Courtyard of the Palace Hotel While Under Construction, 1920s. Koç Üniversitesi Archives.
View from the Courtyard of the Palace Hotel While Under Construction, 1920s. Koç Üniversitesi Archives.
Khalil Halaby, The Dome of the Rock, 1940s. Oil on canvas, 47 x 64 cm.
Nicola Saig, Untitled (after photograph of the surrender of Jerusalem to the British), c.1918. The Khalid Shoman Collection.
Jawad Selim, Haider Khana Mosque, 1953. Oil on wood. Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts
Mary Salman and Jamila Salman, Embroidered work. c. 1930s-1940s. Nijmeh Kharoufeh, Embroidered work. C.1900-1925. George Al Ama Collection
Yousef Zughbi, mother of pearl work depicting The Last Supper, c. 1930s. George Al Ama Collection.
Jamal Badran, a selection of decorative glass works, c.1980s-90s. The Khalid Shoman Collection.
Postage stamp of the Second Arab Exhibition in Jerusalem, designed by Jamal Badran, 1934.
Logo of the Second Arab Exhibition in Jerusalem by Tawfiq Jawhariyyeh.
Resurgent Nahda
The Arab Exhibitions in Mandate Jerusalem
Curated by: Nadi Abusaada

11 June – 30 September 2024
Opening: Tuesday 11 June 2024| 6:30 PM | Main Building

Resurgent Nahda pays homage to the two Arab exhibitions organized in Mandate Jerusalem in 1933 and 1934, held as several Arab countries were at the height of their struggle against colonialism. In Palestine, the timing was especially critical. Executed between the major Palestinian revolts of 1929 and 1936, the exhibitions took place during intense confrontations with Zionists and the British. Despite colonial pressures against them, these exhibitions showcased a remarkable Nahda in the economic, industrial, and artistic sectors, facilitating Palestinian-Arab exchange and underscoring Arab unity amidst the region’s geopolitical division after World War I.

This research-based exhibition brings together materials sourced from dispersed archives and collections, breathing a new life into the legacy of the 1930s exhibitions. It tells the story of this pivotal moment of regional exchange through three primary lenses: the political landscape of Mandate Palestine, artistic and artisanal contributions, and the architectural legacy of the Palace Hotel they were held in. It also highlights links to other regional exhibitions, particularly the 1932 Agro-Industrial Exhibition in Baghdad. In doing so, the exhibition delves into the personal and professional journeys of key Palestinian and Arab figures—including artists, craftspeople, architects, and journalists—whose paths intersected with one another and with the histories of the two Arab exhibitions.

Amid the urgency of the current political moment, Resurgent Nahda serves as a poignant invitation to contemplate why and how, during the political tumult of the British Mandate years, Palestinians asserted their political, economic, and cultural ties with the broader Arab world. The ongoing Nakba since 1948 caused a great rupture in these connections. This exhibition treats the two Arab exhibitions as windows into the material worlds that existed before this rupture, inviting us to reflect on what might have been and what still could be.

Featured Works
Rushdi al-Imam al-Husseini, Abdul Qadir Al Rassam, Zulfa al-Saadi, Yousef al-Zughbi, Jamal Badran, Sophie Halaby, Khalil Halaby, Nijmeh Kharoufeh, David Ohanessian, Nicola Saig, Fathi Safwat, Jawad Salim, Lorna Salim, Mary Salman, Jamila Salman.

Featured Collections
Khalid Shoman Collection, George al-A’ma Collection, Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts Collection, Zaina Zarour and Faris Shomali Collection, Fathi Safwat Family Collection, Jamal Badran Family Collection, Rushdi al-Imam al-Husseini Archive, Ibrahimi Collection.

Curator: Nadi Abusaada
Assistant Curator: Tala Alhaj

Nadi Abusaada (PhD) is an architect and a historian. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Architecture at ETH Zürich. Nadi completed his Ph.D. and M.Phil. degrees in architecture at the University of Cambridge. Before moving to Zurich, Nadi was the Aga Khan Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Architecture + Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Nadi is also the co-founder of Arab Urbanism and an editorial contributor at The Architectural Review. He also curated and contributed to research-based exhibitions in Venice, Zurich, Montreal, Dubai and Ramallah.