February 16, 2009 - Palestinian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale - 53rd Venice Biennale
February 16, 2009

53rd Venice Biennale

Jawad Al Malhi
House No. 197, 2007-2009
Image: courtesy of the artist
© Jawad Al Malhi

53rd International Art Exhibition –
La Biennale di Venezia

June 7th – Sept. 30th, 2009
Opening reception June 6th at 5 pm

Convento Ss. Cosma & Damiano,
Campo S. Cosmo,
Giudecca Palanca,
30133 Venezia


Palestine c/o Venice marks the first Palestinian participation at the Venice Biennale. Rather than adopt one theme, the exhibition takes on a conceptual framework that embraces the Palestinian people questioning the disproportionate use of the media image of nameless faces and voiceless people. Two of the art projects are collaborative interventions with diverse Palestinian communities whose members will travel to Venice to participate in the art performance and/or the Symposium.

In the same spirit, it is appropriate and necessary to insure that the Palestinian communities under siege, unable to obtain travel passes, join in celebrating the first Palestinian exhibition at the Venice Biennale. In this respect, six Palestinian art institutions in Palestine will exhibit duplicates of the art works, thereby allowing Palestinian audiences to participate in the opening of the exhibition simultaneously to its opening in Venice. The Palestinian venues are: A.M. Qattan Foundation, Birzeit University Art Museum, Al-Hoash Palestinian Art court, International Academy of Art Palestine, Al Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, and Riwaq Center for Architectural Conservation.

The seven participating artists, commissioned to create new works, were chosen for their outstanding commitment to their art and their ability to bridge local and global themes. Among them are emerging and established artists. They employ diverse techniques including sound installation, multimedia performance installation, site specific work, animation, photography, and video. Their art references Palestinian issues within an international artistic discourse. It is self-reflexive on the artistic process outside the boundaries of the traditional exhibition space, tackles themes ranging from the epistemology of the concept of biennales to the dialogue of cultures within architecture and urban design, and explores visual perception of objects in the mechanical state, marginality via the structural geography of the refugee camp, and the activation of an almost non-exiting community discourse on the colonialist socio-spatial reconfiguration of urban centers.

Participating Artists
Taysir Batniji, lives and works in Paris
Shadi HabibAllah, lives and works in Ramallah
Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti, live and work in Bethlehem
Jawad Al Malhi, lives and work in Jerusalem
Emily Jacir, lives and works in Ramallah/New York
Khalil Rabah, lives and works in Ramallah
Curator: Salwa Mikdadi, Independent Curator based in Berkeley, CA
Commissioner: Vittorio Urbani, Director Nuova Icona

Symposium: Conversations
Date: June 5th, 2009 9:30 until 5:00 pm
Free Admission. Limited seating, early registration required
Contact: info@palestinecoveniceb09.org

Issues to be discussed will focus on art in the time of perpetual crisis, the role artists play in civil society as activist and as catalysts of democratic discourse, and the artists’ activation of public spaces as alternative venues in the absence of museums and state support.

Symposium participants include the artists as well as art historian Yazid Anani (Birzeit University, W. Bank), Kamal Boullata (artist & art historian), Salwa Mikdadi, Vittorio Urbani, Tina Sherwell (art historian and director of The International Academy of Art Palestine), Jack Persekian (curator, al Ma’mal Foundation for the Arts, Jerusalem & artistic director of the Sharjah Biennale) architects Suad Al Amiry (Director, Riwaq Center for Architectural Conservation) and Farhat Yousef (Head of Planning Unit, Riwaq), Ramallah.

Catalogue: A fully illustrated catalogue will be available in two editions, Arabic and English.

For more information contact Salma Tuqan, Exhibition Coordinator at:


Address for Mail:
Nuova Icona Associazione Culturale Per Le Arti
Giudecca 454, 30133 Venezia

Exhibition granted patronage by the City of Venice

The Khalid Shoman Foundation – Darat al Funun
Welfare Association
Rana Sadik and Samer Younis

Palestinian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
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