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14 Oct 2009

The 3rd Riwaq Biennale 2009, Palestine

3rd Riwaq Biennale


12th – 16th October 2009


Nablus Road,
El Sharafeh, Al Bireh

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Can a biennale be a biennale in a state that is not a state? In a place that is so overwhelmed with visual realities? What if this idea can be understood as an artwork itself, leaving room to speculate on its own conception, validity and continuity?

These are just a few of the questions posed by the 3rd Riwaq Biennale, which forms itself first and foremost around a conceptual art project introduced by the artist Khalil Rabah. It follows the trajectory of his earlier work, such as The Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind, in (re)producing institutions that lie between fact and fiction. With a touch of irony, Rabah simulates the processes of national institutionalization and the assembly of national narratives through the collective and communicative structures that drives them and applies them to the construct of the biennale.

Rabahs' imagined institutions transgress borders, smuggling themselves into places where they can create havoc because of their ambivalent relation to the models that inspire them. As part of this process, he has created a dual presentation of the 3rd Riwaq Biennale: the first is set in Venice as part the 53rd Venice Biennale and functions as a biennale in a biennale; the second will take place in a number of venues throughout Palestine from 12th – 16th October.

The name, starting point and aim of the 3rd Riwaq Biennale were taken from the Ramallah-based NGO Riwaq - an organization that works on the protection and rehabilitation of Palestinian cultural heritage. Advancing the aims of this organisation has been the starting point of all editions of the Biennale and the Palestinian section of the 3rd Riwaq Biennale adopts Riwaq's goal of rehabilitating 50 villages, while not being present in each of them.

Instead, it chooses a number of venues and platforms in the historic center of Birzeit as well as in other villages and their surrounding landscapes. Here, temporary interventions, gatherings and constructions of possible scenarios for the future will be presented.

As a journey between locations, the 3rd Riwaq Biennale does not feature any large-scale, central exhibitions, but consists of a series of trails, curated conversations and interactions in fragmented and disparate locations, reflecting on and moving through the fractured territory of Palestine.

A deliberate confluence of geographies, contexts and authorities, the 3rd Riwaq Biennale has the possibility to metamorphose in Palestine into a kind of 'living art' - an art that does not necessarily add to the environment but calls upon it as it is, reflecting a geography that we can never take for granted.

Biennale Curators: Charles Esche, Reem Fadda
Biennale Coordinator: Carol Michael
Biennale Director: Khalil Rabah

Program 12 – 16 October, 2009
Day one: Birzeit
Day two: Jerusalem, Bethlehem
Day three: Al Mazra'a Al Qiblieh, Birzeit, Jifna, Al Jalazon Camp, E'in Sinia, Silwad, Al-Taybeh, Jamma'een, Sabstiyah, Arrabeh
Day four: Al Zahiryyeh, Hebron
Day five: Ras Karkar, Ramallah

Partners and Collaborating Institutions
Birzeit University, Birzeit Municipality, Al-Rozana Association, Al Ma'mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, Van Abbemuseum, A.M. Qattan Foundation, Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre, Popular Art Centre, Al-Mahatta Gallery, Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, Centre for Cultural Heritage Preservation, Palestinian Art Court – Al Hoash, Taybeh Municipality, Centre for Jerusalem Studies, International Academy of Art Palestine, Al Kasaba Theatre and Cinematheque, Ethnographic and Art Museum in Birzeit, British Council, Franco-German Cultural Centre Ramallah, ArtSchool Palestine, Al Kamandjati Association, Palestine c/o Venice, Nova Icona, Peoples Museum, Town House Gallery, EuroMED Heritage, Delfina Foundation, NG (Naser Golzari) Architect, Adam Mickiewicz Institute.

Major Sponsor
Palestine Investment Fund

Consolidated Construction Company
Foundation for Arts Initiative
Consulate General of Belgium in Jerusalem

Supported by
Wataniya Mobile Company
Zoom Advertising Company
Ford Foundation

In Kind Sponsorship

Royal Court Suite Hotel
Zeit Ou Zaatar
Grand Park Hotel & Resorts
Jerusalem Hotel
National Beverages Company