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‘Art walk’ highlights gems of Jerusalem

04.06.2015  12:55
In Jerusalem, the Palestinian Art Court - Al Hoash, uses the whole community as exhibition space. An alternative city tour consisting of interactive art installations and perfomances by both local and Danish artists shines new light on hidden and overlooked gems of Palestinian art and heritage in a city where such faces significant pressure.

 For 25-year-old Majd Amoury, from Jerusalem, it was the first time she exhibited a work in her home turf. The Palestinian artist had cast her love on a three-hundred-year-old fruit tree standing in the courtyard of the community center ‘Abna Alquds’ – Sons of Jerusalem - in the Old City.

"The tree has great value for the locals. Generations have gathered here. When couples could not meet in public, because it is not culturally accepted, they met here. And little boys sat on its branches," she explained.

The old fruit tree was the fifth stop on an ‘art walk’ organized by the Palestinian gallery, Al Hoash and the Jerusalem Tourism Cluster - a non-profit organization that works to promote tourism in East Jerusalem. Majd Amoury had covered the tree in colourful yarn to, literally, connect the old with the new. With her art work, Majd Amoury hoped to bring attention of especially local Jeruselamites to forgotten historical sites and showcase their beauty.

"A major challenge here is that interest in art is not common. It is as if people feel they have enough to worry about, and cultural things are less important than providing food, education and security for their children, "she said.

The tree was just one of a number of installations and performances included in the alternative walking tour under the name 'RE/viewing Jerusalem' and the slogan 'Discover the city from a different angle'.

For curator of Al Hoash gallery, Alia Rayyan, a main objective is to ensure that the area's local population again becomes a visible and integral part of the city.

"It is very important for especially Palestinians in Jerusalem because we are more or less neglected from the public space," she said.

The construction of the Israeli separation barrier in 2002 cut off Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank alienating the city's Palestinian population from their countrymen by making it impossible for the nearly three million Palestinians in the West Bank to take part in Jerusalem's cultural life.

According to Alia Rayyan, the barrier and the political situation isolated the Palestinian population. Not only geographically but also socially and culturally. Supported by Danish Center for Culture and Development (CKU) and the British Council, the art walk is part of a larger EU-funded project aiming at boosting tourism in the Palestinian parts of the Old City and the surrounding areas through activities in arts and culture.

Abstract from article by Lena Odgaard for CKU

Read the whole article (in Danish)