Hazem Harb’s first institutional solo exhibition in the United Arab Emirates displays a collection of archival materials and his signature artworks which use collage-based techniques that incorporate photography and mixed media on a grand scale. The artist attempts to capture the lost legacies of the artist’s home country Palestine and piece together a temporary museum that showcases the fragmentary nature of Palestine’s history.
Harb has been collecting rare antique memorabilia of the history of Palestine on international online auctions this year. His findings date as far back as to 1779, and among his acquisitions are ancient maps of Palestine and Phoenicia, books of historical trade routes, family photographs and even artworks depicting the Holy Land by Orientalist painters such as David Roberts, 1796 – 1864, a contemporary of J.M.W. Turner. Placed in an installation-based exhibition setting, Hazem Harb invites the viewer to reflect on Palestine’s history with the hope of establishing a permanent museum of his possessions for everybody to access in future.
Conceived as an immersive exhibition experience, the show displays enlarged historical black and white photographs of the Holy Land as backdrops for visitors to step inside, as if walking within three-dimensional remnants of history. Among them, existing works by Harb are placed in dialogue with a new large-scale installation made from olive oil containers, thereby showing the importance of Palestine’s natural resources. Touching upon themes like diaspora, the practice of archiving and a nostalgic yearning for lost histories, this exhibition presents the artist’s deep reflection on his roots between past, present and future.
Curated by Cima Azzam, Maraya Art Centre.
An extensive public programme will run during the exhibition including guided tours, workshops and a culinary journey into Palestine.