Dana Erekat
Tarek al Ghoussein
Emily Jacir
Rula Halawani
The Wall & The Checkpoints
Emily Jacir, Dana Erekat, Rula Halawani, Tarek al Ghoussein, Rashid Masharawi

8 February – 13 April 2006


"The Wall and Checkpoints runs from February 2 through April 13 and features photographs and video installations by four artists scattered to various spots in the Palestinian Diaspora. Emily Jacir is a multimedia artist who divides her time between New York and Ramallah, Rula Halawani is a photojournalist-turned-art photographer who lives in Jerusalem and teaches at Birzeit University, Dana Erekat is an architect who lives and works in Kuwait, and Tarek al-Ghoussein is an art photographer who teaches at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

Each artist is exing his or her formal and conceptual skill to grapple with notions of closure, with the physical and mental barriers that are particularly egregious in Palestine but are also operative all over the world, barriers which serve more than anything to limit human movement and freedom of thought. The strength of the show lies in its quiet assertion that the creation and circulation of contemporary art may ultimately prove to be a powerful force for helping one to transcend such barriers and escape such instances of closure. The Wall and Checkpoints is, in this regard, an example of radical opening. [...]

The overriding artistic impulse, more so than meaningful representations of walls or checkpoints, seems to be the desire to leave traces, to create records, documents, and archives of the Palestinian experience, much like the drive, in the terms of political science, to establish facts on the ground. What is haunting about that is the suggestion that artists are now actually grappling with the threat of real extinction, desperate to record presence in the face of absence. Ghoussein’s lonely figures, Halawani’s nocturnal monsters, Jacir’s good deeds and frightened footsteps, Erekat’s fearless children, all these works attempt to beat back an unconscionable erasure, all of these works leave traces that speak, that say, we were here, we are here, and we will find an opening in that wretched wall."

-excerpt from Kaelen Wilson-Goldie, 'Representing Palestine: Forms of Closure, Documentary Traces, and the Art of Breaking Through Barriers' in the exhibition catalogue The Wall & The Checkpoints, published by Darat al Funun-The Khalid Shoman Foundation (2006)