Return of the Soul: The Nakba Project
Jane Frère

11 October 2008 – February 2009
At the Blue House

Three thousand Palestinian figurines, each representing a Palestinian refugee will go on display at The Khalid Shoman Foundation – Darat al Funun starting October 11th. This extraordinary work – known as Return of Souls -- is part of an international artistic project exploring and documenting the history of Palestine during the late 1940s and aims at shedding light on this area of human history, which has been over decades neglected.

The Nakba project, largely sponsored by the Palestinian Welfare Association, was led and co-produced with Scottish artist Jane Frère. The artwork is a multi-dimensional installation of around 3000 wax figures. Suspended in the air by clear nylon thread, the figures are positioned on a raked angle across the space, giving the elusion of depth and motion representing the departure of Palestinian in the 1948 exodus. Sound, video and scripted testimonies will escort the figures and give them identity, referring to individuals forced to flee their homes in a state of fear and panic.

The process of production was through young Palestinian artists, trained by artist Jane Frère who then conducted a series of educational workshops in refugee camps, in Palestine and the region. The workshops targeted refugee youths and enabled them to creatively express their sense of loss, to explore their heritage and identity and to connect with other Palestinian refugees through an exhibition that will travel worldwide.

The overall purpose is to create an awareness of the Palestinian displacement in a non-didactic, non-political way through artistic expression.

A great team effort was invested in this project. It has given the work weight and credibility reflecting a vital degree of engagement with the cause. The emphasis is on cross cultural collaboration and creative exchange at a time when the international community has increasingly isolated Palestine and the Middle East has already gone beyond crisis point. In collaboration with cultural organization the exhibition will travel around the Arab countries, Europe and worldwide.