This solo exhibition recovers else forgotten moments of Palestine’s past from oblivion, reintroducing them in collages of photographic material and architectural shapes.
Assembling historical material of Palestine’s past, including photographs, negatives and slides, the collages of Harb are rich in imagery symbolic of Palestinian culture and history. The exhibition does not only cast light on the present through the past and vice versa, but creates images from a construction of the historical material itself. “It’s not easy to find this material because there’s so much denied about Palestinian history,” the artist says and continues: “I want to put the images back into time.
Philosophically time stopped at that moment [of the Naqba]. Now they are part of the present again.” While President Trump’s travel ban has closed the door to people from some Arab countries like Syria and Yemen, prominent American art institutions such as the Met and MoMA have recently taken the opposite approach, concentrating on Arab and Palestinian art in their exhibition programs.
Harb cuts reality apart to gather the fragments in the formation of a new whole, exploring the experience and memory of being in place and of being displaced. Place and space are seen in the present while invoking a past of dwelling – a sense of belonging, which belongs to a time before Israel.
“Hazem Harb channels the painful story of his people entangled with his own into sublime aesthetic compositions, which transcend the Palestinian voice through powerful beauty”,