Artistic vibrancy in Palestine is stymied by multiple constraints, including the 15-year blockade of Gaza and movement restrictions in the West Bank which disrupt the mobility of creatives, reducing their ability to exchange, develop creatively, and showcase their works. The isolation of Gaza affects artists’ lives on an emotional, material and professional level and hinders artistic development.
Flow / تدفق : Contemporary Art Programme in Palestine supports a new generation of Palestinian visual artists from Gaza, West Bank and Jerusalem, to unleash their full artistic and professional potential in an innovative and inclusive cultural exchange project.
Access to institutional education on contemporary art is not possible in Gaza; artists from Gaza are almost entirely restricted from going to the West Bank/Jerusalem or an international destination; it is almost impossible for West Bank/Jerusalem artists to visit Gaza. This collaborative European-Palestinian project will create new opportunities, open doors for networking, and build the capacity of a new generation of Palestinian artists,
The project aims to enable a new generation of visual artists in Palestine to achieve their artistic and professional goals creating a new and powerful present with a great community impact. In the face of severe access and mobility restrictions and growing geographical fragmentation in the Palestinian territories, the project seeks to connect and share knowledge between Palestinian artists and build the capacity of the emerging Palestinian visual arts scene to establish a strong network and engage the next generation. The project will strengthen artistic collaboration between artists from Gaza, West Bank and Jerusalem through freedom of communication and artistic creation.
Supporting Palestinian artists to unleash their full artistic and professional potential
It is designed in response to the creative demand of artists in Palestine, which thanks to this European-Palestinian partnership will be further developed to a new scale for a greater impact locally and internationally. It is composed of three pillars (a) training and support programme consisting of masterclasses (also open to the public) and individual mentoring sessions for emerging artists led by Palestinian and European cultural professionals (b) provision of grants to enable artists to produce individual art projects and (c) curation of an exhibition to be presented in Palestine and Europe.
The project will be composed of integrated interventions co-created by local and EU project partners:
- Masterclasses, delivered by Palestinian (local residents and in diaspora) and European professionals will be held once a week during 6 months for a total of 72 hours. They will be broadcast live via videoconference, open to the public, and recorded and stored on an open access platform, while an online publication will also be prepared.
- Mentorship sessions will be provided by Palestinian and European professionals to each of 15 artists selected through an open call. The mentors will be assigned according to the theme/discipline that each artist undertakes. The sessions will guide the artists in the production of their individual artistic projects. In total, each artist will benefit from 12 hours of session over a period of 6 months. Small grants will be disbursed to the 15 artists to help them produce and complete their individual art projects by the end of the training/support programme.
- A touring exhibition will be curated to showcase the produced artworks. The exhibitions will take place in the venues of the three local partners, and will then travel to the EU starting with Casa Árabe in Madrid, and two more venues in France and the United Kingdom, with the help of the European partners.
Such a project is very important and significant to the art and cultural community in a besieged place like the Gaza strip, we are so excited!"Fadi Abushammala, Executive Director of the General Union of Cultural Centers (Gaza)
The project targets emerging artists from Gaza, West Bank and Jerusalem, who have begun to develop their practice but lack the means, techniques or access to current international contemporary art trends. The selection of artists will be done through an open call for applications with special attention to artists from Gaza due to its isolation. In the selection of artists, women will be prioritised (at least 50% of participants) given that they face greater barriers in developing their professional artistic practices.
It connects artists in the Palestinian territories with Palestinian artists in the diaspora, strengthening bridges and allowing direct constant contact with artists coming from different realities and working in the context of the EU/UK. This high-level professional artistic network will enable strong artistic projects to grow and create a greater impact. Through its inclusive governance structure, local ownership of the project will be facilitated, that will empower the local institutions (in West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza) to implement a new edition of the project in the next years incorporating new local and international partners.