Ramallah's A.M. Qattan Foundation Hosts Inaugural Exhibition

BY Katrina Kufer / Apr 8 2018 / 13:57 PM

Celebrating opening of the foundation’s new building, the group show 'Subcontracted Nations' will inaugurate the space 28 June-29 September 2018

Ramallah's A.M. Qattan Foundation Hosts Inaugural Exhibition
Courtesy of Donaire Arquitectos

Curator Yazid Anani has brought together a vast pool of artists including Gottfried Helnwein, Khaled Jarrar, Lara Baladi, Larissa Sansour, Sliman Mansour, Tarek Al-Ghoussein, Yazan Khalili, and collectives The Convivialist Manifesto, and The Silent University, among others, on the occasion of the new A.M. Qattan Foundation building. Designed by architectural firm Donaire Arquitectos, based in Seville, the 7,730-square-metre cube-shaped building features louvres that emit light come darkness and serve as a metaphoric lighthouse – reinforcing the foundation’s drive to become a beacon and haven of knowledge, science, cultural exchange and creativity. Through several public outlets, a library, food outlet, cinema-cum-theatre, art gallery, flexible hall and residency space, the new structure aims to be an incubator.

Subcontracted Nations, opening in the summer, will inaugurate the Ramallah-based building. The group exhibition considers notions of nation, the shifting sense of identities through rhetorical and political discourse, and more specifically, draws its title from “the proliferation of the processes of sub-contracting found in our world today―whether it is the sub-contracting of health services, or the privatisation of public resources including education,” reads the curatorial remit. It proposes that these processes have been critical in the fragmentation, and ensuing compartmentalisation, of public services and the state’s shrinking role. Anani has also combined the works to address how differing neo-liberal orders maintain socially and economically acceptable limits – within day-to-day interactions and familial relationships through to citizenship and broader politics – in order to “maintain the delusion of social agency.”

Through an exhibition that boldly and frankly questions the ability of states – who are rapidly losing control – to adequately provide and better health, housing, social security, and other welfare services. It urgently questions what it means to be a citizen and to exist within these conditions, what being a larger nation means under political parties driven more by partnerships with corporations rather than democratic order, and ultimately, “How can we imagine the nation when it is reduced to a series of “sub-contracted” service industries?” Beyond these pressing queries, Subcontracted Nations also contemplates a solution – how to engage in rethinking the politics of democracy when working under and with the given circumstances, and how that would affect the evolution of the concept of “nations”, social structures and international relations.