The sleek galleries of the Palestinian Museum and its manicured gardens in the hills of the occupied West Bank revealed their first exhibition to the public on Aug. 27, more than a year after the building was first opened.
Palestinian and international artists contributed to the “Jerusalem Lives” exhibition at the multi-million dollar museum in the university town of Birzeit, which focused on the connection between Palestinians and Jerusalem.
Curator Reem Fadda said the exhibition was about bringing Jerusalem to Palestinians who could not reach it themselves, because of Israeli restrictions on access to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, and focusing on the role of people in the city, as opposed to the widespread imagery of its iconic landscape.
“We have to bring Jerusalem to us, we have to take it to the people. I was not able to go to Jerusalem even once in the last nine months [during the project],” Fadda said.
She also described the project as an attempt to mobilize Palestinians to culturally resist the Israeli occupation and said they planned to tour the work in remote areas, for people who would not be able to visit the museum.
Jerusalem-based photographer Ahed Izhiman was one of the artists featured in the exhibition, with a montage of his panorama shots of the West Bank placed on all four walls of a room to give the audience a 360-degree view of the ring of settlements that surround East Jerusalem.
Izhiman said the idea was to give an impression of what it is like to be encircled by settlements.
“You cannot stay five minutes, you will just become depressed from the ugly architecture. It connects to me personally because I grew up with this scene that expands day after day,” he told Anadolu Agency, adding that it was a big milestone for the museum to finally launch.
“We are proud for all Palestinians in general. We finally have our own [museum] with a quality that competes with the museums in [the rest of] the world,” he said.