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“Qalandiya International” as a milestone contemporary art event

Posted October 31, 2012 by in

Ambitious artistic event is slated to launch Palestine on the international art arena

Qalandiya International, an ambitious undertaking by the art community, will launch its edition in the fall of 2012 as a first contemporary art event that is slated to take place from November 1 to 15, 2012, across the Palestinian cities, towns, and villages. The event is the most daring foray into showcasing Palestine’s cultural endeavors onto the world stage. The event will feature the participation of 50 International and Palestinian artists through a diversity of newly commissioned art projects and presentations with multifarious works of interdisciplinary nature open to all thus garnering wide engagement.

A series of high-profile art events, performances, installations, interventions, films, tours and cultural activities will take place in sibling Palestinian cities across the divide: Jerusalem, Nazareth, Gaza, Ramallah, as well as in several towns and villages in the West Bank. The event will also highlight significant architectural sites with talks and walks, setting the tone for local and international interaction.

Qalandiya International is the culmination of the vision and work of seven prominent Palestinian cultural institutions that are focused on contemporary art and the Palestine cultural landscape. These institutions consolidated both their resources and creativity to project and promulgate Palestine’s contemporary culture and true face to both local and international
audiences empowered with unity of purpose with an eye to form artistic links across a fragmented Palestinian geography. This artistic collaboration includes the following institutions:
Riwaq, Al Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, the A. M. Qattan Foundation, Palestinian Art Court – Al Hoash, the International Art Academy – Palestine, Sakakini Cultural Center and The House of Culture and Arts – Nazareth.

It is the design of the institutions involved to sustain this landmark contemporary art event as it is to be organized every two years and will be a creative step towards elevating Palestine’s cultural and artistic image on the global stage.

Why Qalandiya?
For the past decade, “Qalandiya” has been associated with the infamous Israeli checkpoint that continues to suffocate the West Bank disconnecting it from Jerusalem and the rest of the world. This checkpoint has been highly pervasive in the media and in the visual and literary works produced in and about Palestine. Countless stories about Palestinians’ daily suffering and subjugation take place there, offering sad but true glimpses of the oppressive regime of the occupation.

However, “Qalandiya” suggests other connotations that have been deliberately smeared or totally erased over the years, but which, with a more intimate look, could be uncovered: the Qalandiya Airport, for example (or the Jerusalem International Airport as it was initially called), the Qalandiya refugee camp, and Qalandiya village (which the Wall has divided into two
separate parts). Qalandiya is where many paradoxes meet. It was the point of connection with the rest of the world until 1967 and became today the symbol of disconnection, isolation, segregation and fragmentation in 2000.

Qalandiya International will utilize the name and its multilayered and contradictory meanings in an event that seeks to perpetuate the true Palestine brand on the international cultural scene, while allowing a taste of the experience embedded in the symbolic paradox of Qalandiya.

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