A Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign started by Palestinian artist Emily Jacir aims to see her family home, a 19th century historic structure, turned into the Dar Yusuf Nasri Jacir for Art and Research, an independent exhibition space and community art centre.
The building has survived socio- and geo-political tumult and stands on the Israeli-Palestinian border as an important part of the local community, as well as a bridge between the past and future. Built in 1890 by Jacir’s great great grandfather al Mukhtar Yusuf Jacir – a well-to-do merchant – it now rests mere metres from the West Bank wall. “Honestly, we know it is crazy and wildly ambitious to undertake a project like this in a country under occupation and in a house that is on the front lines of confrontations,” writes Jacir on her Kickstarter page, “but it is for those very reasons that this project must go forward.”
With a $45,000 goal, the Kickstarter account has already surpassed the halfway mark. Depending on the amount pledged, Jacir is offering contributors rewards such as the reception of a one-of-a-kind “day in the life at Dar Jacir” video filmed by Jacir or her sister Annemarie ($70), a private two-day tour of historic Palestine ($3000), the chance to name a character in Annemarie’s next feature film ($4000), or a limited-edition Emily Jacir photographic work ($9000), among many other options.
Aiming to be functional by September and up and running by January, Jacir is working with IPS to help build the archive, which will house the Yusuf Nasri Suleiman Jacir Collection. It features rare records of Palestine’s seminal Ottoman-era merchants including diaries, photographs, ephemera, newspapers, personal letters, ledgers and archival financial transaction information that date to pre-British rule.
Also on board are architectural preservation group RIWAQ, who will renovate the building; Bethlehem University for collaboration on workshops and lectures; and Al Rowwad, which will partake in outdoor activities. Jacir also plans to initiate a small residency programme.
“We envision the centre as a place in which the history and the contemporary conditions of Bethlehem will meet, enabling the production of new works of art and visions of the future,” writes Jacir. “It will be a learning hub for the Bethlehem community and beyond — a place to ask questions, exchange ideas, and grapple with our present-day situation.”
For more information visit kickstarter.com/projects/1367680484/dar-jacir