Venice Biennale is known as the “world’s biggest art show,” and this year, one of its highlights is the first ever Palestinian art exhibition, “From Palestine With Art.” The exhibition is being presented by the Palestine Museum US which is a rather new institution. At just 4 years old, the establishment is pioneered by founder and executive director Faisal Saleh, and is also the first one dedicated to Palestinian art in the west.
Saleh told a local publication, “We are very proud of this achievement of bringing Palestine to the summit of the art world and keeping it on the world stage for the next seven months. We have worked very hard and invested a lot of resources to get here and are gratified that Palestine is taking its rightful place (as an official collateral) among 80 of the world’s nations and hundreds of international artists at La Biennale di Venezia.”
The institute is taking every opportunity to highlight the artistic talents from Palestine and are enlisting 19 Palestinian artists living in Palestine, as well as around the world. Their works will represent diversity in art, geography, various demographics and more. Nancy Nesvet, head curator of Palestine Museum US and exhibition curator said in a statement, “From Palestine With Art proudly shows international art world works by Palestinian artists practicing today, looking to the present and future, showing the enduring beauty of Palestine and earning their deserved place in the global art arena.”
The works on display include installations, paintings, sculptures and photography, including a series of portraits of nine renowned Palestinians from the art and literature world, and a larger than life historic map of the country currently suffering occupation.
One installation features an olive tree that has keys hanging from the homes of Palestinian refugees, signifying their right to return to those homes one day. There is also an audio program featuring recordings of spoken histories from Palestine and music from there. Faisal Saleh also explained, “Palestinian art is the most effective way to tell the Palestinian story to the world. We hope to show the world that, despite living in exile and under the most difficult conditions under occupation, Palestinian artists are able to excel and produce inspiring works of art that celebrate the beauty of Palestine, the strength of its people, and its rich cultural heritage.”
For the opening day of the exhibition, there is set to be a performance by Jordanian opera singer and founder of the Amman Opera Festival, Zeina Barhoum. “Zeina is a talented young musician and has a beautiful voice whether she is singing operatic themes or Palestinian songs,” says Saleh, “We feel she is the right performer for this historic event.”