Visual Arts Exhibit

Curatorial Statement on Visual Arts Selections

We are pleased to present a selection of works of high artistic quality that give moving visual expression to the experience of the Nakba as it happened 60 years ago and as it reverberates in the continued oppression of the Palestinians today. The works stand out for the way that they capture both the immense feelings of loss and oppression created by the Nakba and its aftermath in the Israeli occupation, as well as the perseverance of the Palestinians in their struggle for freedom.

We sought art that moved beyond negative stereotypes of Palestinians, but also beyond positive, yet empty, tropes. Instead, we selected a group of works that promoted complex understandings of the myriad ways that Palestinians have suffered and resisted in a conflict not of their own choosing, works that reject simplistic understandings of the conflict as a disagreement between equal neighbors who just need to adopt "peace."

In the exhibition and within individual artworks, images of the forced expulsions, keys to lost homes, and names of lost villages overlap with contemporary images of the separation Wall and house demolitions, creating a visual testament to what one of the artists called “the ongoing Nakba.” At the same time, the vibrancy of the works – in colors, brushstrokes, and artistic vision -- and the human spirit they capture, shows the Palestinians as “stronger than the Wall,” to quote the title of our award-winning piece. Kids jump and play, people attend weddings, decorate their homes, try to pick up the pieces of their demolished houses, and look back at us viewers to make us acknowledge their presence and ongoing suffering. Palestinians cover the Wall with their own artistic expressions of Nakba, and with their desires for peace with freedom from oppression.

Jessica Winegar, Curator, Visual Arts Selections
Assistant Professor, Dept. Anthropology, Temple University

Rania Matar, Visual Arts Jury Member, Documentary Photographer,

Salma Abu Ayyash, Visual Arts Jury Member, co-founder of, Palestinian arts initiative in Boston

May 10, 2008

Best Visual Arts Award




6 Honorable Mentions

(to be announced soon)


24 Exhibit Selections


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