Rituals of Signs and Transitions (1975-1995)

Rituals of Signs and Transitions (1975-1995) questions the significance history of art has in our region today, investigates the relationship between art works and political and historical transitions at the time, and looks at the exchange between art works with other forms of expression, such as literature, music, and cinema.

The period between 1975 and 1995 proved to be crucial in the formation of the modern Arab world. The period began with the Lebanese Civil War, was further marked by the first Palestinian Intifada in 1987 and the 1991 Gulf War, and ended with the signing of the 1993 Oslo Agreement and the 1994 Wadi Araba Treaty. These events marked the paths of people and nations, and encouraged various artistic practices to record the transitions that we are still living through now.

In 1994, after learning he had cancer, Syrian playwright Saadallah Wannous wrote Rituals of Signs and Transitions, which gave its name to this exhibition. This is one of the most crucial works of art confronting the use of politics in religious dialogue, and can be regarded as a prophecy today. It stands as an example of what art has the potential to reveal.

Rituals of Signs and Transitions (1975-1995) revives art, books, and visual and audio productions as an affirmation of the role of art in shaping our individual and collective histories.

Artists from The Khalid Shoman Collection: Abderrazak Sahli, Adam Henein, Adnan Yahya, Ahmad Nawash, Ali Jabri, Aziz Amoura, Chaouki Choukini, Dia Azzawi, Etel Adnan, Fouad el Khoury, Gouider Triki, Ismail Fattah, Issam al Said, Jananne Al-Ani, Jumana el Husseini, Laila Shawa, Marwan, Mohamed Kacimi, Mohammad Omar Khalil, Mona Hatoum, Nabila Hilmi, Nasser Soumi, Nedim Kufi Mohsen, Samia Halaby, Shaker Hassan al Said, Suleiman Mansour, Vera Tamari, Youssef Abdelké.

In addition, there are relevant works from The Khalid Shoman Collection on permanent display by Abdul Hay Mosallam, Fahrelnissa Zeid, Fateh al Moudarres, Himat Ali, Ismail Shammout, Rafa’ al Nasiri, and Ziad Dalloul.

Also shown is a selection edited by Emily Jacir from the salvaged rushes for Tel al Zaatar (1977), together with documentation of the 2013-2014 restoration of these rushes at the Archivio Audiovisivo del Movimento Operaio e Democratico (AAMOD) in Rome by Jacir and Monica Maurer. A Palestinian and Italian co-production directed by Mustafa Abu Ali, Pino Adriano and Jean Chamoun, Tel al Zaatar was filmed in 1976 directly following the August 1976 massacre of over 1,000 Palestinians and Lebanese at Tel al Zaatar, a UN-administered refugee camp in northeast Beirut. Abu Ali and Chamoun edited the footage in Rome for six months in 1977, and the rushes afterwards remained untouched in the archives for 36 years.

Open Call for Participants:
‘Lawrence of Arabia and the modern Middle East’
Workshop with Tom Hunter
15-31 October 2015

It has been almost 100 years since the end of the Ottoman Empire and the formation of the modern Middle East. With this in mind Tom Hunter will lead a series of themed events and workshops exploring modern day Middle-Eastern identity in relation to Lawrence of Arabia and the Arab revolt. Through the re-examination of archival material participants will be encouraged to create their own artworks investigating historical notions of identity interwoven with contemporary life in Jordan. Photography will be the starting point of the workshops but participants are free to produce their work in any medium they feel appropriate.

There will be a series of 6 workshops (Dates and times to be confirmed) that will culminate in an exhibition running from 7 - 27 November 2015

Those interested in participating in the workshop are asked to send their name, age, phone number, and a letter of intent to opencall@daratalfunun.org by 15 October 2015.
The 2016-17 Darat al Funun Dissertation Fellowship for the Study of Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World

Darat al Funun-The Khalid Shoman Foundation is pleased to announce the open call for its 2016-17 dissertation fellowship. The fellowship was established in 2011 to encourage research on modern and contemporary art of the Arab world. The fellowship provides financial support of up to ten thousand US dollars to Ph.D. candidates in the humanities and social sciences. One to two fellowships will be granted each year. The fellowship duration must range from 4-6 months of residency at Darat al Funun in Amman, Jordan.

Fellows are expected to pursue their own research, give at least one public lecture, and participate in Darat al Funun’s cultural and artistic activities. Upon completion of the fellowship, fellows are required to submit a five to seven page research report that will be made available on Darat al Funun’s website.

The deadline for applications is 15 December 2015.

Read more
Open Call for Projects in the Lab in 2016

The Lab at Darat al Funun is an experimental space encouraging creative exploration by artists and curators from various disciplines. The Lab is now offering its space and is accepting proposals to work, produce, or curate innovative art projects and/or organize a series of talks, workshops, or film screenings. This call is open to artists, filmmakers, designers, architects, performers, curators, and all creative minds.

The deadline for applications is 15 November 2015.

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Book Launch
Emily Jacir: A star is as far as the eye can see and as near as my eye is to me

We are proud to announce the publication of Emily Jacir: A star is as far as the eye can see and as near as my eye is to me, following her eponymous survey exhibition at Darat al Funun from 4 November 2014-23 April 2015. The bi-lingual English-Arabic book is fully illustrated and includes texts by Adila Laïdi-Hanieh and Ahmad Zatari, as well as an interview with the artist by Yazid Anani, together giving profound insight to Jacir's work.

Available for sale from mid-September 2015 at Darat al Funun, and online through our worldwide distributor Idea Books, Amsterdam (www.ideabooks.nl).

Published by The Khalid Shoman Foundation, 2015. Designed by Hans Gremmen, Amsterdam. Edited by Eline van der Vlist. ISBN 978-90-821484-1-1.

Fahrelnissa Zeid:
The artist’s journey in Istanbul, Paris, and Amman
Tuesday 6 October 2015 | Main Building 6:00 PM

Talk by: Adila Laïdi-Hanieh

Beginning a series of talks on artists in the exhibition “Rituals of Signs and Transitions (1975-1995)”, Algerian-Palestinian academic Adila Laïdi-Hanieh discusses the artistic journey of Turkish/Jordanian Fahrelnissa Zeid (1901-1991) in three cities: Istanbul, Paris, and Amman. Fahrelnissa Zeid’s artistic journey began in Istanbul where she was one of the first women to enroll in the Academy of Fine Arts. Her journey took her to Paris where she studied at the Académie Ranson under artist Roger Bissière and painted in the 50s and 60s “lyrical abstraction” artworks as coined by critic Charles Estienne, founder of the “New School of Paris”. She came to Amman in 1975 where she established The Fahrelnissa Zeid Institute of Fine Arts “to pass on to younger generations” her 40 years of experience in the art. Her “late style” there until her passing in 1991 was characterized by a bifurcation between her teaching and her own practice’s new focus on portraiture, achieving “authorship and uniqueness.” The talk will be in Arabic.

Adila Laïdi-Hanieh is a writer and academic focusing on Palestinian arts and cultural practices, modern Arab intellectual history, and cultural spaces and processes. Her book Palestine: Rien ne nous manque ici (Palestine: We Lack for Nothing Here) was published in 2008, a first cultural review of contemporary Palestine. She taught from 2006 to 2008 Arab intellectual history, and the first course on Palestinian arts at Birzeit University. She ran the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre in Ramallah from its 1996 establishment until 2005, where she curated the 2001-2003 memorial art exhibition 100 Shaheed-100 Lives.
Scenes from Sa’adallah Wannous’s play “Rituals of Signs and Transitions”
Adapted and directed by Wael Qaddour
Tuesday 13 October 2015 | Archaeological Site 7:30 pm

For the first time in Jordan, Syrian Director Wael Qaddour presents his adaptation of “Rituals of Signs and Transitions”, the play that lends its name to the current exhibition at Darat al Funun. Set in the 19th century, this play is considered to be a prophecy by Saadallah Wannous, and demonstrates the use of politics in religious dialogue. The performance will be based on a selected readings of scenes. The talk will be in Arabic.
The challenges of the Palestinian contemporary art experience
Tuesday 20 October 2015 | Main Building 6:00 pm

Participants: Palestinian artists Vera Tamari, Samia Halaby, Khalid Hourani.

This panel discussion features Vera Tamari and Samia Halaby, who will present their testimony and speak of the challenges faced by the Palestinian contemporary art experience. With the participation of Khalid Hourani, who will speak of his work as an artist from a new generation, and as a director of the International Palestine Art School. The talk will be in Arabic.
Monthly Cultural Talk:
What remains of Arab creativity from 1975-1995
Tuesday 27 October 2015 | Main Building 6:00 pm

Darat al Funun’s cultural consultant Dr. Faisal Darraj speaks about the selection of books displayed in the exhibition “Rituals of Signs and Transitions (1975-1995)”, questioning what remains of arab cultural creativity in the last quarter of the 20th century. The talk will be in Arabic.
Exhibition: ‘A library as a film set’
Opening: Saturday 10 October | At the Lab 6:00 pm
10 - 31 October 2015

Marie Ouazzani & Nicolas Carrier will showcase work done by participants during the workshop ‘A library as a film set’ that took place at the Lab and Darat al Funun’s library in September. Workshop participants explored methods of reappropriating historical images and produced critical gestures around archeology, architecture and art with the use of photography, collage, and film.
Workshop with Tom Hunter: 'An investigation of the legacy of Lawrence of Arabia'
15-31 October 2015

Tom Hunter is an artist and Professor of Photography at the University of the Arts London will lead a series of events and workshop exploring modern day middle-Eastern identity in relation of Lawrence of Arabia and the Arab revolt through the re-examination of archival material. Participants will be encouraged to create their own artworks.
Exhibition: Lawrence of Arabia:
War, Deceit and Imperial Greed and its Modern Day Legacy
Opening: Saturday 7 November| At the Lab 6:00 pm
7 - 27 November 2015

This group exhibition is an exploration of modern day Middle-Eastern identity in relation to Lawrence of Arabia and the Arab revolt. The work created is in response to archival material and the artists’ own experiences of contemporary life in Jordan. Using photography as a starting point the work has been co-produced through a series of workshops by visiting British artist, Tom Hunter. His own newly created work in Darat al Funun will be premiered as part of this exhibition.

Begun in the early eighties, the Khalid Shoman Collection is one of the earliest collections dedicated exclusively to contemporary art of the Arab world. This extensive publication brings together the voices of artists, architects, curators, art critics, and scholars to reflect on the Khalid Shoman Collection and its potential role in narrating a regional art history. The book consists of three interwoven parts: (1) academic essays by scholars from different disciplines examining a range of art historical concerns through art works from the Collection, (2) personal reflections by artists, curators, critics, and scholars who have lived the history of Darat al Funun, and (3) the works by the over one hundred and forty artists forming the Collection, reflecting the shifts and transformations in the region's artistic practices over the last four decades.

You can buy the book at Darat al Funun, or online via Ideabooks.
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Darat al Funun - The Khalid Shoman Foundation

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