September 2021 – September 2022
Guest curator: Inass Yassin
Assistant curator: Ahmad Al-Aqra’
A People by the Sea: Narratives of the Palestinian Coast sheds light on the history of the Palestinian coast. It considers possible futures by reviewing and reflecting on past experiences. Starting from the mid-18th century and ending in 1948, the exhibition allows for a re-examination of the Nakba through a presentation of two hundred years of historical landmarks.
The exhibition includes focused narratives: The first one highlights the rise of Akka (Acre) in the mid-18th century, highlighting its political, economic, urban, and architectural history before modern states’ formation in the region. A second narrative focuses on the rise of Yafa (Jaffa) in the 19th century, with the gradual concentration of capital and trade in Palestine’s coastal cities. This was accompanied by a growing European influence in the mid-19th century, which led to the 20th century Nakba and the fall of the country.
The history of the Palestinian people is one of a complex society with historical continuity on their land. The people of Palestine succeeded in forging diverse manifestations of their deep-rooted existence in the land, through a continuous history and in a semi-independent manner, outside the bounds of official state constructs and encroachments of invading powers that successively ruled the region for centuries – the last of which being the current colonial rule. The presence of an enduring and vibrant Palestine is evident through its urban, architectural, economic, social, and political ensembles and structuring, prior to modern nation-states’ formations and their ensuing demarcation of political borders. That presence is continuously established and reinforced through Palestinians’ steadfastness and will for self-determination, and their close bond with their land and sea.
Inass Yassin is a studio artist and curator. Her practice investigates urban and social transformations in Palestine since the late 1980s. She was the director of the Birzeit University Museum between 2010-2017. As a Fulbright grantee she obtained her MFA from Maine College of Art, in 2019. She also has a Master of Arts earned in 2009 from the University of Southampton, UK.
Historical Advisors: Professor Adel Manna, Professor Mahmoud Yazbek.
This exhibition was carried out with the valuable participation of the following artists: Abed Abdi, Essa Grayeb, Suzanne Groothuis, Bashar Khalaf, Sasha Khoury, Noor Abu Hashhash, Shareef Sarhan, Nasser Soumi, Dima Srouji, Yanko Todori Tadros, Amir Nizar Zuabi, Manar Zuabi.
The Palestinian Museum thanks its lenders: Maha Abu Shusheh, George Alama, American University of Beirut, Jonathan Cook, Ziad Daher, Raed Duzdar, Republic of Turkey Presideny of State Archives, Getty Images, Amjad Ghannam, Institute for Palestine Studies, Adila Laïdi-Hanieh, PhD, Library of Congress, NINO Collection, The Palestinian Museum Digital Archive.
Curation Team: : Obour Hashash, Exhibition Production Manager; Sandy Rishmawi, Assistant Curator; Lubna Al-Araj, Curatorial Production Assistant; Malak Abdelwahab, Researcher and Curatorial Assistant; Ashraf Hamdan, Researcher and Curatorial Assistant; Baha’ Jubeh, Museum Registrar.
Donors: A. M. Qattan Foundation through the “Visual Arts: A Flourishing Field” (VAFF) Project, funded by Sweden, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, Bank of Palestine.
The coast of 1948 Palestine, probably Jaffa between 1920-1923. © Image courtesy of Frank Scholten, Nino Collection, The Netherlands Institute for the Near East, Leiden.