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Press Release

In the eyes of our present, we hear Palestine foregrounds the unyielding creativity of artists who have dedicated their practice to informing, advocating and educating about the history of the conflict, the current political situation and issues of human rights in Palestine.

This special exhibition, presented in consideration of the ongoing tragedy in Gaza, is part of the Foundation’s continuous support for Palestine and its people and testifies to the decades-long struggle for homeland and sovereignty in Palestine. While bearing witness to forced displacement and devastating loss, the works also celebrate the rich identity and heritage of Palestine, invoking a spirit of solidarity.

Situated in the Old Al Dhaid Clinic and Arts Palace (Sheikh Khalid bin Mohammed Palace) in Al Dhaid, In the eyes of our present, we hear Palestine narrates the multifarious stories of the Palestinian people and their allies, opening up a space of encounter, learning and transformation.

More than 60 artworks featured in the exhibition, all part of the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection, are by artists from Palestine and its neighbouring countries. Together, these paintings, sculptures, installations and videos, spanning from the 1950s till the present, offer a glimpse into the challenges and hopes of the Palestinian community.

Habib Allah’s 30KG Shine (2017) is a video installation that examines various states of existence—object, body and spirit—and how they exchange roles and share enmeshed forms of agency. Paying homage to a 1930s urban myth about a ghost that haunted the Old City of Jerusalem, the film records how an elderly woman, currently living where the fable is set, secures her home and family heritage by leading life in confined quarters, often at the expense of her own livelihood and health. The work also features footage of a ‘tunnel cemetery’ being constructed to house 22,000 displaced corpses; these bodies claim presence and ownership of the place where they will lie. Many of the Palestinian workers who dig these makeshift graves enter Jerusalem without proper permitting, their illegal movement enabled by the dead’s historical presence. While these tunnels are created to house the remains of those who have passed, the presence of those remains preserves a channel of movement, one hidden underneath the city and expanding without tangible oversight. In the exhibition space, nearly life-sized pieces of furniture and a dimly lit chandelier evoke objects in transience or at rest.

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