LAZNIA 1 2011 - HERE & NOW

Artists: Rafat Asad, Mirna Bamieh, Majd Abdel Hamid, Alexandra Handal, Bashar Hroub.

Curators: Samar Martha, Agnieszka Kulazińska

Opening 08.07.2011, at 6p.m
Exhibition till 28.08.2011

The “Here & Now”  exhibition presents young art from Palestine. In Poland we still know very little about artists in this region. What associations do we have about Palestine? A place with the Bible tradition? Or maybe rather a country divided by conflicts resulting from its complicated history?

The exhibition is a draft; it proposes to take a look at the region from the perspective of several young artists. Their ambition is to create works free of politics. Installations and videos tell stories about ordinary people, who live in Jerusalem, Nablus, Ramallah.

The title of the presentation has been taken from a cycle of photographs by Bashara Hroub. The series was made when the artist was studying in the UK and in Palestine. The photographs are a record of a photo-performance. The artist has impersonated someone who is hiding their face behind a mirror cube. It exists here and now; its main objective is to perceive reality to accommodate to it in the best possible way.

Bashar Hroub, Here and Now

In his photographs, Hroub raises questions about the subject and its relations with the surrounding world. What does it mean to be in an alien reality? The question evoked in the title is a question about freedom of an individual. The identity built by history, culture and tradition sets boundaries. Outside your own country you are always a foreigner.

The works of Rafat Asad and Majd Abdel Hamid introduce into the reality of Jerusalem a multicultural city.  The Jerusalem of Rafat Asad is seen from the point of view of Palestinian Authority`s inhabitant. His video installation defines the city as a temporary space, hanging in the constant here and now, waiting for the changes to come.
Majd Abdel Hamid in his Pain Killers has used one of Jerusalem’s iconic historical places, the Dome of the Rock. Covering of the model with pain killers and antidepressants refers to the statistics showing an increase of their consumption in the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Zone.

Majd Abdel Hamid, Pain Killers

Alexandra Handal`s photographs No Parking Without Permission were taken during her walks in neighborhoods of West Jerusalem, where Palestinian Arabs were displaced and dispossessed in 1948. Wandering around, this mundane activity becomes a political gesture of resistance in the divided city of Jerusalem. Alexandra Handal’s work raises questions about the city’s multicultural identity, which is being destroyed by the occupation. In this photographic series, Handal captures the different emotional layers of her experience as a Palestinian drifter in West Jerusalem. 

Alexandra Handal,
No Parking Without Permission, Jerusalem, Greek Colony, 03.05.08, 10:53

White Map, video installation by Mirna Bamieh proposes a utopian version of the world without borders and cultural limitations. The world which is an empty piece of paper ready to be written on. White Map takes an illustration for Lewis Carroll‘s poem  The Hunting of the Snark (1874) as a reference. Mirna, in the video installation interrogates how to operate in the world full of limitation, taboos, borders where the reality starts to be more and more virtual.

Mirna Bamieh, White map

 Does the focus on here &now allow us to escape from binary world, oppositions created by history and culture? The “Here & Now “exhibition is nothing but a draft, an attempt to take a different look at Palestine. Going beyond the image of conflict. The questions given by the artists, although coming from geographically distant place, are relevant. The artists touch upon the issue of the human condition of contemporary man who is stuck in a reality deeply involved in history. The questions are interestingly relevant in Gdansk, a city with a complicated history, whose here and now is constantly defined by the collective `lack-of-memory`(1)


1.  Look at the research of Social Psychology Department of University of Gdansk, Tożsamość Gdańszczan. Budowanie na (nie)pamięci, Uniwersytet Gdański 2010
Municipal Institution of Culture