SHARJAH, October 20, 2021 (WAM) – The Maraya Art Center, a not-for-profit creative initiative of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), which supports emerging artists in the region, has announced the opening of ‘Hazem Harb . Ephemeral museum. For Palestine ‘, a solo exhibition featuring new works by contemporary Palestinian artist, Hazem Harb.
Attempts by the internationally renowned Dubai-based artist to capture the essence of the heritage of his home country, Palestine, take the form of archival documents including old maps, family photographs and paintings, and are displayed in display cases, giving it a distinct museological aesthetic. Using collage-based techniques that incorporate photography and large-scale mixed media, the artist creates a temporary museum that showcases the fragmentation of Palestinian history.
The exhibition opened on October 20, 2021 and will run until February 10, 2022. The opening ceremony received the participation of Sheikha Latifa bint Maktoum, Founder and Director of Tashkeel, Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman from the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), Sheikha Nawar Al Qasimi, Director of the Sharjah Art Foundation, Abdelmonem Alserkal, Founder of Alserkal Avenue, and Ahmed Al Qaseer, Chief Operating Officer of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), as well as a number of artists from the United Arab Emirates.
In recent years, Harb had collected rare antique memorabilia related to Palestine through international online auctions, some dating back to 1779. His acquisitions include ancient maps of Palestine and Phenicia, books on historic trade routes, family photographs and even artwork depicting the Holy Land by Orientalist painters such as David Roberts (1796 – 1864), a contemporary of JMW Turner. Placed in an installation-based exhibition setting, Hazem Harb invites the viewer to reflect on Palestine in the hopes of establishing a permanent museum of its possessions that everyone can access in the future.
Designed as an immersive experience, the exhibition features enlarged black and white historical photographs of the Holy Land as backdrops for visitors to step inside, as if walking through three-dimensional remains of a bygone era. . Alongside these, existing works by Harb are brought into dialogue with a new large-scale installation made from olive oil containers, highlighting the importance of Palestine’s natural resources. Addressing themes such as the diaspora, the practice of archiving and a nostalgic desire for lost stories, this exhibition presents the artist’s deep reflection on his roots anchored between the past, the present and the future.
Commenting on the title of the exhibition, Temporary Museum, Hazem Harb said: âA museum is a place that contains objects intended to inform and disseminate knowledge on various subjects. A museum is also constantly evolving, a space that is constantly evolving. , I took this time to reflect on my career and the work produced throughout. I wanted to have a space to share all of my findings – every book, map, photograph and object I have collected over the past few years. I have been immersed in extensive research since 2012. I wanted to freeze moments in time, presenting all the evidence to celebrate a culture – a temporary story for a permanent story. ”
Cima Azzam, Curator of the Maraya Art Center, said: âIt was my great privilege to be the curator of the exhibition ‘Hazem Harb: Temporary Museum. For Palestine âat the Maraya Art Center, not only because of my Palestinian-Jordanian heritage, but also because this exhibition marks a turning point in the artist’s career so far. Known for his collage-based approach, Hazem Harb now allows viewers to literally step into an immersive set design portraying the past he has carefully examined with strong academic rigor and meticulous research. The exhibition reflects on how history is told by institutions and individuals, and offers the public food for thought. It delves into the history of Palestine and invites the viewer to listen to Palestinian stories.
The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalog presenting an interview with the artist by the curator of the exhibition Cima Azzam; an insightful essay by Laura Beaney, director of communications at Tabari Artspace; as well as an autobiographical account of Hazem Harb, written to mark his 40th birthday last year.
The Maraya Art Center has also released films about the artist and scheduled an engaging public program including workshops, studio tours and exhibition tours.