The Ramallah Club Network

Samah Hijawi and Reem Shilleh took the Ramallah Clubs Network (of the Palestinian diaspora in the USA) as a starting point to reflect on the intricacies and complexities of the Palestianian diaspora and their manifestations. They will explore the experience of being in diaspora and exile and how this formulates one’s relationship to home and homeland. Often, members of the diaspora reconnect through community centres, festivals and events in order to continue their cultural practices, and keep the community connected. But beyond sharing food, dance and conversation, what intangible elements do these gatherings transmit? What are the other forms and tools that are used to understand this convoluted relationship between here and there? In the face of Palestine’s settler colonial reality how have they contributed to direct and indirect forms of resistance, narrative formations and acts of remembering?

In a series of conversations broadcast online on Radio Al Hara every Thursday of the month of October, Hijawi and Shilleh will be speaking with colleagues, artists, filmmakers, social activists, and friends from different geographies, whose work is connected to or influenced by their diasporic/exilic experience and desire to reconnect.  

Every Friday in October we will come together for a listening and reflection session at Lagrange Points, in Brussels.

Episode 1

01.10 Guests: Dries Douibi and Daniel Blanga Gubbay
Language: English

In the first episode of The Ramallah Club Network, Samah Hijawi and Reem Shilleh are speaking with the artistic directors of the Kunstenfestivaldesarts about the concept of The Diasporic Schools and their own origins.

Episode 2

08.10 Guest: Michel Khleifi
Language: Arabic

In the second episode of The Ramallah Club Network, Samah Hijawi and Reem Shilleh are in conversation with the filmmaker Michel Khleifi about memory, collective and personal, its relationship to where we are geographically and his work, particularly his 1985 film Maaloul Celebrates Its Destruction.

Episode 3

15.10 Guest: Basma Alsharif
Language: English

In the third episode of The Ramallah Club Network, Samah Hijawi and Reem Shilleh are in conversation with the artist Basma Alsharif about their earliest memories and how shifting locations influences their invocation; about distance and image, and about Basma Alsharif's video and writing works, Gaza, metaphors and much more.

Accompanying this episode, Basma Alsharif's incredibly unique We Began By Measuring Distance (2009) will be streaming online from the 15.10 until the 18.10.

Episode 4

22.10 Guests: Rasha Salti and Kristine Khouri
Language: English

In the fourth conversation of the The Ramallah Club Network Reem Shilleh and Samah Hijawi are speaking with Rasha Salti and Kristine Khouri about the complex relationship between the diaspora and solidarity networks in the 1970’s that were built around, through and beyond the Palestinian struggle for liberation. Rasha and Kristine are curators of the documentary and archival exhibition Past Disquiet in its multiple iterations, which is based on their extensive research of the art and exhibition making in the 1960's and 1970's that exist well outside the canon, and namely the 1978 International Art Exhibition for Palestine, a number of museums in exile, Chilean and South African amongst others.

Episode 5

29.10 Guests: Dr. Kathy Zarur
Language: English

In the final conversation of The Ramallah Club Network, Reem Shilleh and Samah Hijawi speak to Dr. Kathy Zarur, a curator and educator based in San Francisco, who explores concepts around place and landscape both as artistic genre and as lived experience of diasporic communities. By focusing on two exhibitions that Zarur has co-curated,  Where is Here and Betweenscapes, they reflect on the nuances between the conditions of being in diaspora and exile, and how these frame the experiences of being away from the homeland. They also talk about what the social fabric of the United States offers in parallel experiences between the indigenous and diasporic communities, whose kaleidoscope identities complexifies their relation to place.

Presentation: Kunstenfestivaldesarts-Radio Al-Hara-Lagrange Points

A project by: Samah Hijawi and Reem Shilleh

A project initiated and coproduced by Kunstenfestivaldesarts in the frame of The Diasporic Schools Executive production: Kunstenwerkplaats

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Samah Hijawi is an artist and researcher currently doing her PhD in Art Practice at Université Libre de Bruxelles and the Académie Royale Des Beaux Art de Bruxelles, in Belgium. In her multi-media works she is exploring the aesthetics of representation in artworks that allude to the histories of Palestine. Her works have been shown in The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Museum M, The Hayward Gallery, BOZAR, Beurscchouwburg, Bureau Europa, MoMa, Apex Art, Darat al Funun, among others. She previously collaborated with Ola El-Khalidi and Diala Khasawneh in directing Makan Art Space (2003-2016), an independent space for contemporary art in Amman. And together with Shuruq Harb and Toleen Touq she co-curated the platform The River has Two Banks (2012-2017), initiated to address the growing distance between Jordan and Palestine.

Reem Shilleh is researcher, curator, editor, and on occasion writer. She lives and works in Brussels and Ramallah. Reem Shilleh’s practice is informed by a long research project on militant and revolutionary image practices in Palestine, its diaspora, and solidarity network. Some of her recent projects are the curated film program The Space Between: The Invocation (MMAG Foundation, Amman, 2019), the research exhibition series Desires into Fossils: Monuments Without a State (Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center, Ramallah, 2017), and the curated film collage, commissioned by A. M. Qattan Foundation, Perpetual Recurrences (Qalandiya International, Ramallah, 2016). She is also Co-Founder of Subversive Film, a curatorial and research collective formed in 2011 that casts new light upon historic works related to Palestine and the region; engenders support for film preservation; and investigates archival practices, its effects and reverberations on imaginations. Reem Shilleh is a recipient of the BAK Fellowship for 2019-2020.

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