Desire & Resistance in Contemporary Palestinian Art | Archive of Interviews with Palestinian Artists
The work of Palestinian artists creatively explores issues of occupation, domination, cultural fragmentation, exile, desire, resistance, resilience, survival and identity construction in complex and eloquent ways. The varied conceptual and aesthetic strategies employed by Palestinian artists often blend personal concerns with national experiences to create works that critically reflect the conditions of a culture under persistent pressures.
For more than sixty-two years the worldview of most Palestinians has been, in large part, shaped by a sustained military occupation. In reality, the Palestinians live under dual occupations. The first is an overt, external, military occupation that shapes their relationship with the world and has forced them to become a culture of resilient and defiant survivors. The second is a covert, internal, cultural occupation, enforced by customs and traditions that rigidly define their relationships with each other as men and women, rich and poor, connected and disenfranchised.
People in the West are at times surprised that Palestinians living under the longest continuous occupation in modern history possess the desire and will to create art. In response, I remind them that during periods of extended political conflict, art can often be the best way for a society under the stress of cultural annihilation to sustain itself, critique its attackers and project its historical identity to the world. This is very much the case in Palestine today, where art is seen and used as a tool of cultural survival. Driven by a desire to persevere as a historical culture in the face of an extended military occupation, the visual, literary and performing arts are flourishing in complex ways in Palestine.
The interviews posted on this website were conducted with a few of the leading Palestinian artists and art curators of our time. Some live in Palestine, others live in exile, while others exist as Palestinian citizens of the “Jewish State”. Their creative output represents a fragment of a rich and complex cultural mosaic that has been deliberately suppressed and concealed by the fog of occupation.
As I conduct additional interviews with Palestinian artists I will post them on this archive.