Still on vacation - Nobel Peace Center

Nobel Peace Center

Still on Vacation

05 Oct 2008–02 Dec 2008

The three Palestinian artists Emily Jacir, Khalil Rabah and Sharif Waked showed artworks addressing identity and the building of a nation.

Still on Vacation was a collaboration between the Nobel Peace Center, the research project Cultural Complexity in the New Norway (CULCOM) and Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KhiO), and was supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Freedom of Expression Foundation, Oslo.

These days, political art is a commodity in short supply. It is important for art to make a stand. Palestinian artists work under totally different conditions from those of their Norwegian colleagues. Their interpretations give new perspectives to political conflicts. We are proud to be able to present Palestinian contemporary art and make our contribution to keeping the Middle East debate open.
– Bente Erichsen, Executive Director of the Nobel Peace Center.

The artworks were: Where We Come From, 50 320 Names and Chic Point. Exhibition curators were Palestian Samar Martha and Norwegian Henrik Placht from Oslo National Academy for the Arts (KhiO). Emily Jacir (1970) received the Golden Lion for best artist under 40 at the Venice Biennale 2007.

The exhibition was part of the project Cosmoculture, which arranged the conference Art Beyond Reason, which was chaired by Thomas Hylland Eriksen (CULCOM) with an introductory lecture by the Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong’o. The seminar took place on Monday 29 October, the same day as the Artist Talk with the Palestinian artist Khalil Rabah in conversation with Henrik Placht (KhiO).

Where We Come From (2001-2003)
Emily Jacir asked Palestinians around the world the following question: «If I could do anything for you anywhere in Palestine, what would that be?» The artist used her American passport and the freedom of movement it provided, in an attempt to fulfil the wishes of the people with limited or no access to their home country.

50,320 Names (2007)
50,320 Names was part of the artist’s fictional museum, The Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind. In this exhibit Khalil Rabah read out loud the names of the families who lived in the houses in RIWAQs (center for conservation of Palestinian architecture) register of listed buildings in Palestine. Rabah’s impassive roll call was expressed in a tone usually reserved for the dead.

Chic Point: Fashion for Israeli checkpoints (2003)
The work Chic Point was a fashion show side by side a series of documentary photos from different checkpoints, seen from a soldier’s viewpoint.  Sharif Waked presented two contradictive worlds in a strong representation of aesthetics, body, degradation, surveillance and freedom.