Presented by Quilliam, the world’s first counter-extremism think tank, and Art Cube Artists’ Studios, a center for contemporary culture, The Unmarked Body is an exhibition of work by four female and non-binary, Israeli passport-holding Palestinian artists – Raida Adon, Hannan Abu-Hussein, Maiada Aboud and Raafat Hattab – including photography, film, sculpture, installation and performance. The show will be mounted at Art Cube Artists’ Studios gallery in Jerusalem from October 2018 to January 2019, before ultimately travelling to London. Part of Manofim, Jerusalem’s premier contemporary art festival with an international audience, The Unmarked Body will form part of a public arts program, including performances, talks and tours. A fully illustrated catalogue is translated in Hebrew, Arabic and English.
The artists of The Unmarked Body act with agency, using the human body as a principle medium or metaphor, to resist boundaries imposed on it. Exploring themes of sacrifice, homelessness and metamorphosis, they complicate notions of a static, “authentic” Israeli or Palestinian heritage. The Unmarked Body challenges binary constructs, revealing multifaceted, autonomous identities, through feminist and queer methodology. Adon, Abu-Hussein, Aboud and Hattab interrogate notions of purity in their wider socio-political environment, by disobeying patriarchal moulds of femininity and heteronormativity. Palestine is imagined as a woman to expose geopolitical economies of negation and models of dominance / subservience. Gender ambiguity is a prism for viewing the liminal Palestinian Israeli experience – of trespassing or falling short of both sides by being neither / nor completely.
Through embodied narrative and traces of forms, the artists situate themselves both in the here and now and in the historical context of Israel, referencing the dispossessed present-absentees of 1948 and their descendants. Invoking dialectics of presence and absence, hybridity and syncretism, they raise questions of alterity and represent exile in its many forms, carving out a space of solidarity with parallel communities around the world.
While the exhibition will not project an illusion of harmony or peaceful coexistence, it will return primacy to voices forged by the conflict, who are in threat of usurpation by far-right or far-left agendas. By giving a platform to Palestinian Israeli artists, Art Cube Artists’ Studios and Quilliam, a Muslim-founded and led organisation, will send a powerful signal to authorities on both sides of the debate for peace-building and inter-community relations worldwide.
About the presenters
Quilliam have a full spectrum and values-based approach to counter-extremism which means promoting pluralism and inspiring change. Over the last decade they have grown to have operations all over the world and currently have a UK team, a North America team and a Global team. Quilliam seeks to challenge what we think, and the way we think. They aim to generate creative, informed and inclusive discussions to counter the ideological underpinnings of terrorism, while simultaneously providing evidence-based policy recommendations to governments, and building civil society networks and programmes.
Art Cube Artists' Studios complex in Talpiot is comprised of subsidised studio spaces for Jerusalem-based artists, a gallery which holds temporary exhibitions, curatorial visits and public lectures, as well as an international residency program that includes collaborations with Israeli and international art institutions. Art Cube Artists' Studios was the first Israeli art institution to offer artists a subsidised work space for an extensive period of time, in the aim of fostering artistic practice in Jerusalem. Over the years, the Studios has hosted some of the best artists working in Israel, including Larry Abramson, Asaf Ben Zvi, Amnon Ben Ami, Avi Sabach, Masha Zusman, Etti Abergel and Shai Azoulay. In addition to these activities, the Art Cube Artists' Studios houses Manofim and the online magazine Harama.
about the curator
Rachel Maggart is a London-based curator whose practice centres on providing representation for communities occupying in-between spaces outside of mainstream consciousness. In 2016, she co-curated with Harry Seymour The unbreakable rope: an exploration of sexuality in Islam. The exhibition brought together works by ten international contemporary artists looking at preconceived notions of sexuality in Islam, through contemporary testimony and theological exegesis. As a project manager for Artscape, she executes on the production and delivery of curated public realm art programmes and commissions. Rachel received an MA in History of Art from Birkbeck College, where she was awarded a merit scholarship given to one non-EU MA student studying a School of Arts programme. A classically trained pianist, she holds a BA in Music from New York University.
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