NYC: Reclaiming Public Space

Buchra Khalili: The Tempest Society: Screening and Conversation with Bouchra Khalili , a 2019 Soros Arts Fellow, screened The Tempest Society (2017) and discussed her film along with her new book by the same title with curator and writer Omar Berrada. Commissioned by documenta 14 (Athens), the film explores the legacy of the agitprop theater group Al-Assifa, active in the 1970s in Paris, and its relevance to humanitarian struggles today.

Monument Lab– You see in the photo Eriola Pira from VLC as a speaker

Emily Jacir: It was a great surprise to see the art work in front of me. I have seen it before in Beirut. A work of art by my dear friend Emily Jacir in Chelsea . She will be in NY next week. Her project was short listed for the Vera List award this cycle. She will be in NYC next week. She is from Palestine

The Metropolitan Museum: A visit to the Met Museum (In the photos an ancient Egyptian temple that was gifted to the USA by President Nassir in appreciation to the USA’s role in supporting the UNESCO appeal to saved monuments drowned when building the Nassir Dam in the late 60s)

Zaha Hadid: A building by the late renounced brilliant Iraqi Zaha Hadid

Emel Mathlouthi: A brilliant female musician from Tunisia now living in NYC. She sang for her country in the day post its second free election post the Arab Uprising. She always sang to the Kurds.

So finally I am settled in my hipster mixed neighborhood in Brooklyn-NYC as a fellow through the CEC ArstLink Fellowship program hosted by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics- the New school. This fellowship is of extreme significance e both on the professional and on the personal level. I lived in the USA from the year 1993 until 1997. Since then, I have been back to the USA once back in 1998 as a part of a tour to speak about Palestine and the Israel Occupation of my homeland. Coming back is extremely important as a step, at always me an onward reflective look at my past. Professional and due to complex political contexts, I have had rare moments to collaborations between American colleagues and counterparts.  Perhaps this fellowship will act as an interlude to new trails!

Since my arrival, I have not sit still, working a lot, meetings different interesting and important initiatives walking a lot and sleeping very little. I am inspired and eager to enjoy all that NYC has to offer. I am pleasantly surprised at the knowledge of Palestine and its arts and culture landscape by many artistic and curators who are engaged in social justice issues. Sometimes even huge NYC

I am also diligently working on my curated platform on public art and citizen participation in Palestine, which over this weekend go also turned into a book with an initial title of “Reclaiming Public Space for Palestinians through the Arts”. The book will commission Palestinian and non-Palestinian (but working with Palestine as theme) writers, thinkers, artists and curators to together explore the topic of reclaiming public space by Palestinians through the arts, regardless of their location thus offering a kaleidoscope of different perceptions to the meaning of “public space” to all contributors.

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