August 26, 2014

Where are you from?

SMU Meadows School of the Arts
Kamal Aljafari, The Roof (video still), 2006. Video, 61 minutes. Photo courtesy of the artist.

A common question that emerges in the course of casual conversation is “Where are you from?” But this seemingly simple prompt, searching for locational identity, can reveal the fraught territory of nationalism in the case of contested sovereignty. This exhibition explores the identity of 1948 Palestinians through the work of Kamal Aljafari, Aissa Deebi and Dor Guez.

In 1948, when the State of Israel was established, some Palestinians became Israeli citizens. Today they make up over 20 percent of the Israeli population, but are still a minority that lives in a present state of oppression, recalling the physical and political displacement of what Palestinians call the nakba (catastrophe). These artists work at the bizarre intersection of nationalisms that the occupation of Palestine has produced. Their work draws from both personal histories and communal memory. Kamal Aljafari’s The Roof (2006) is a cinematic memoir about Aljafari’s family members, who live in Ramleh and Jaffa, cities that have mixed Israeli and Palestinian populations. Aissa Deebi’s The Trial (2013) was his contribution to the Palestinian pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale. This two-channel video installation is based on the story of Daoud Turki, a Palestinian Communist who was put on trial by an Israeli court in 1973. Dor Guez’s Watermelons Under the Bed (2010) includes the story of his grandparents’ displacement in 1948. 40 Days (2012) includes a video and a series of photographs tied to Guez’s grandfather’s death and the desecration of the Christian Palestinian cemetery in Lod.

Where are you from?is curated by Noah Simblist, Chair and Associate Professor of Art at SMU, Meadows School of the Arts.

For more information, contact:
Sally Frater, Pollock Curatorial Fellow
T +1 214 768 4439 / [email protected]


SMU Meadows School of the Arts presents Where are you from?

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