Six emerging and established artists of Al Dakhel, meaning Palestinians of the Interior. Al Dakhel sub-groups include Muslim Arabs, Christian Arabs and Druze, all whose roots are traced to historic Palestine and who live today on / close to their land, as both Palestinians and citizens of Israel. It is the first time that Al Dakhel artists will be shown in the Arab World. Rula Alami is a Palestinian-Lebanese art collector and curator, based in Beirut and involved with the Palestinian Museum in Birzeit. She invited Valerie Reinhold, an art curator and advisor based in Amsterdam, to tell the story of these artists.
Rula Alami, Valerie Reinhold
Exhibition dates: 08/03/2017 – 22/04/2017
Location: Contemporary Art Platform / Main Exhibition
The majority of native Palestinians were dispersed, uprooted or exiled after the Nakba of 1948; as a result, their common history was fragmented between Al Dakhel Palestinians and the diaspora. Those who stayed–or could return home – came of age in a system where their culture and immediate past were erased. Their cultural education was further unique in the region, as it reflected the influences from western and eastern Europe of the newly emigrated people.
This slowly changed after the 1970s, when the second generation started to claim their roots post-Nakba and question their unequal status in society. In parallel, artists such as Abed Abdi and Asad Azi, were working on the reconstruction of a local Palestinian collective memory. Therefore, the identity of Al Dakhel artists is suspended between citizenship, Israeli education, occidental influences, belonging to Palestinian culture and a strong attachment to their land. Questions related to displacement, belonging, native culture and fragmentation recur in the work of Al Dakhel artists.
By addressing these personal and highly specific questions within the context of a complex society, the artists touch upon more universal questions: who are we, and how does identity evolve when challenged?
THIRD IDENTITY explores the artistic (re)construction of the Al Dakhel identity and its evolution through three generations of artists. It is conceived as a journey through time that outlines common themes and concerns such as memory, post colonialism, hybridity, minority, and both the absence and cross-fertilization of cultures. It shows the richness and the diversity that flourished despite the traumas and “schizophrenic” living conditions, as one artist put it. This exhibition aims to shine a light on this group and give it its rightful place within the regional Arab culture.