Accepted Paper:

Reconsidering the Radical: Palestinian cultural production and the politics of legitimation before and after Oslo  
Sary Zananiri (Monash)

Paper short abstract:

The first Intifada and its outcome - the Oslo Accords - marked a previously unrealised political legitimation. This paper explores the dramatic shift in the ways in which Palestinian art circulated before and after the First Intifada as well as the ways such cultural production is consumed.

Paper long abstract:

Palestine holds a place of privilege in the Western imaginary, firstly as a site for biblical narrative and since the 1960s as an emblematic site of anti-colonial resistance. The first Intifada is a seminal political marker in Palestinian history, but also engenders a moment of political legitimation in its ultimate outcome - the Oslo Accords and the creation of the Palestinian Authority. This paper unpacks the impacts of political legitimation on Palestinian cultural production. Specifically, the dramatic shift in the ways in which Palestinian art circulated before and after the First Intifada as well as the ways in which such cultural production is consumed.

Prior to the Intifada much artwork was circulated as reproductions on posters or other media through international solidarity networks. Such artwork lived within the immediacy of streetscape, posted on walls as part of a solidarity efforts. With Palestinian political legitimation in the form of the PA, artwork retreated from its exilic existence in the street, auspiced by the politics of solidarity, to a more culturally legible modes of practice in international art arenas.

In responding to the assimilation of Palestinian contemporary art into the international art market, contemporary Palestinian curatorship has employed innovative grass roots strategies reflective of specific political and cultural circumstance. I will explicate these curatorial modes through the two case studies. Firstly, the recently built Palestine Museum and their plural attitude towards Palestinian identity and, secondly, the collaborative, grass-roots nature of Qalandia International, which uses a model that undermines the fragmentation of Palestinians.

Panel P045
From Palestine Out: Art and the Political Imagination