The Alt Art Space is currently exhibiting “And Yet My Mask is Powerful,” which is the most recent installation by Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, who work collaboratively from their base in Ramallah, Palestine. It addresses the relationship between mythology, ecology and the resistance to colonial time, imagining new possible incomplete narratives.
Along with other young people, Abbas and Abou-Rahme have visited ruins of Palestinian villages, now overgrown with indigenous plants, nature reclaiming these spaces.
The installation consists of two parts. One is a five-channel immersive video installation, with sound and strange small objects that can be used to build or destroy a place. The content of the video is a visceral journey to the wrecks of former Palestinian towns and villages, transference of the experience of re-visiting the wrecks.
The second part is made up of a new sound work and an expanded collection of materials. The sound is conceived as a conversation between the artists about their trips to these ruins, “which are still alive, almost possessed despite a colonial logic.”
“Over time, these sites are transforming, revealing a relationship between colonialism and the domination of nature/ecology/landscape, which resists this domination,” the artists said. The materials include images, books, diagrams, found objects, dried plants, rocks, and 3D printed mask-sculptures. The masks circle back to the diving-mask in a poem, becoming a symbol of empowerment and protection with mythical-power.
“Neolithic masks found in the West Bank and stored in private collections are hacked and 3D-printed,” the artist duo wrote about the masks featured in their work, saying, “Copies circulate in Palestine, eerily akin to a black ski mask. A group of youth wears them at the site of a destroyed Palestinian village in Israel.”
The installation can be seen through April 16.