The Young Artist 2010

Welcome to the 2010 Young Artist of the Year exhibition, organised by the A.M. Qattan Foundation’s Culture and Arts Programme. This exhibition, the sixth in this biannual event, is the final stage of the 2010 Young Artist of the Year Award – a project that was originally initiated in 2000 to support and promote artistic practice by young Palestinian artists. The Award is open to young artists under 30 of Palestinian descent from any part of the world. This year’s exhibition features paintings, sculptures, installations, a performance and short film and video works by young artists from Gaza, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron and Jerusalem, all of whom are at the beginning of their artistic careers. The 2010 Award followed similar procedures to previous Award programmes: an international call for proposals was sent out earlier in the year and an independent jury selected projects by the eleven participating artists who were given support and time to develop and produce their works, finally culminating in this exhibition. In previous years, the exhibition has taken place in a selection of venues in Ramallah and Al Bireh. In 2010, however, because five of the selected artists are resident in Gaza (Dina Matar, Salman Nawati, Abdallah Al Ruzzi and the twin brothers, Ahmad and Mohammad Abu Nasser), we decided to extend the exhibition to Gaza itself in an attempt to be inclusive rather than perpetuating the exclusion and isolation of Gaza. Due to the nature of individual artworks, it was not possible to show the same painting or installation in two places at the same time. But in collaboration with the co-ordinator of the Gaza exhibitions (the artist, Mohammed Musallam) and all the exhibiting artists from both areas, we considered ways to give both communities the possibility of viewing at least documentation of the works that they are unable to physically experience in the same space. Each of the artists’ works will be represented in some way in both Ramallah and Gaza City. For achieving this successfully, we thank both Rula Halawani and Shareef Sarhan for their skilled work on the photographic documentations. Once again, we have spread the majority of the artworks over some of the cultural spaces of Ramallah and Al Bireh. We are grateful to all of the venues for their generous permission to allow us to take over their spaces for the duration of the exhibition. And we also extend a special thank you to Al Kasaba Theatre and Cinematheque for inserting Ahmad and Mohammad Abu Nasser’s (Tarzan and Arab’s) short film into their regular film screening schedule – so if you don’t make it to the Popular Art Centre to see the film there, and their posters for imaginary films, you have the opportunity of catching the film at Al Kasaba if you are in Ramallah. We also thank the Ministry of Culture for the help that was given to Abdallah Al Ruzzi to install his work in the water reservoir in Khan Yunis. The independent jury of internationally renowned artists and writers from Palestine, Europe and the US will consider all the exhibited works and will hold discussions with each artist individually. Their decisions on the first, second and third prize awards will be announced at the Award Ceremony at Al Kasaba Cinematheque on the evening of the 23rd October. There are many individuals and organisations who have made this event possible and they should be thanked. Among them are the members of the artists’ co-operatives in Gaza (Eltiqa and Windows from Gaza for Contemporary Art) who have willingly allowed their exhibition spaces to be used for hosting the exhibitions there. The Popular Art Centre in Al Bireh kindly allowed us to use their Cinema Club and we are grateful, once again, for the collaboration of the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre, Al Mahatta Gallery and Ramallah Municipality. Without the technical work of Ayman Construction and Bashir Abu Rahmeh, there would be no exhibition, and special thanks are also due to Kefah Fanni, Mu’az Jubeh, Samer Salhi, Ziad Trad, Samira Barakat and Jean Mathiot. We thank ADWA Design for their patience and attention to all the graphic design, and naturally we extend our gratitude to the A.M. Qattan Foundation’s staff – especially the Culture and Arts Programme and the multimedia teams – who have all contributed to bringing this exhibition into being. We thank the jury members for their participation in the Foundation’s ongoing work to support the development of cultural events and artistic practice in Palestine; and lastly, the artists themselves, for whom the programme was initiated and who have invested time, emotions and energy in realising their works. Mahmoud Abu Hashhash Director of the Culture and Arts Programme Nicola Gray Curator of the exhibition