From Andrew Frost…
What does it mean to be a Palestinian? And how does one speak of this experience through contemporary art? In Beyond the Last Sky curator Chrisoula Lionis has brought together photography and video work by contemporary Palestinian artists, the first exhibition of its kind ever staged in Australia, that seeks to go beyond the clichés of identity and conflict to showcase a kind of art-making animated by humour and insight. Lionis calls this a “critical humour” that “…offers a new articulation of Palestinian culture, politics and identity”.
The various works are more fantastical than straight documentation might allow. Khalil Rabah’s multimedia works incorporates materials emblematic of his Palestinian identity such as olive trees, olive oil, stones and embroidery while Raeda Saadeh reimagines icons of Western culture such as Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa through Palestinian eyes. Larissa Sansour’s A Space Exodus  imagines a Palestinian moon landing while Jacqueline Reem Salloum’s Planet of The Arabs  is a cut-up of portrayals of Arabs in Western media. Even where the work is documentary in nature, such as Yazan Khalili’s images of environments and landscapes, the approach is more toward the possibility of imagining than the didactic oppression of a so-called ‘reality’.
September 1 to November 18.
Australian Centre for Photography, Paddington.
Pic: Jacqueline Reem Salloum, still from Planet of the Arabs, 2005. Courtesy the artist.
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