10 January 2019 - 26 January 2019
Dar El-Nimer for Arts and Culture presents A National Monument, an exhibition by Visualizing Palestine and Marwan Rechmaoui. Inspired by a series of highly detailed maps of Palestine from the British Mandate period, the main installation recreates a 3-dimensional snapshot of the major Palestinian cities and towns circa 1947, based on the final British surveys before the Nakba. The installation consists of over 30 3-dimensional pieces derived from the original maps and topographic data from NASA. The exhibition also features prints from a series of 1:20,000 topo-cadastral maps from the 1940s, and other works by Visualizing Palestine, including Palestine Open Maps, an online platform for exploring past and present maps of Palestine.
This collaboration was initiated by Ahmad Barclay, a long time partner with Visualizing Palestine, building on an ongoing vision to build partnerships with practitioners across art, design and cultural disciplines. The title 'A National Monument' is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the words of J. F. Salmon, director of the Palestine Survey (1933-38), who once wrote: 'A good topographical survey should be looked upon as a national monument of the first importance.' Words that take on unintended new meanings in light of the dramatic transformation of the territory over the past seven decades.
Launched in 2012, Visualizing Palestine seeks to harness data-driven visual media—including infographics, animations and interactive experiences—to advance a factual, rights-based narrative on Palestine and Palestinians. The VP team includes researchers, designers, developers and storytellers working across Western Asia, North Africa, Europe and North America.
VP works in partnership with organisations and individuals from across civil society. Its infographics have been used and exhibited 'offline' by activists, educators, cultural workers and institutions in over 400 cities and 65 countries around the world. VP’s work has received international awards from organisations including Ars Electronica and Deutsche Welle, and has been widely published, including in the 2017 edition of The Design of Dissent by Milton Glaser and Mirko Ilic.
Artist: Marwan Rechmaoui
In his work Marwan Rechmaoui derives inspiration from the geography and complex multi-cultural history of Beirut, reflecting on themes of urbanization and contemporary social and behavioral demographics. In lieu of mapping urban spaces, the artist does not view the city according to typical urban planning standards, instead he points to socio-political affiliations and etymological histories from each community.
His works are in the collections of Tate Modern, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Guggenheim Abu Dhabi; The Sharjah Art Foundation; among other major private and public collections. He is also the recipient of the 2019 Bonnefanten Award for Contemporary Art.
Curator: Ahmad Barclay
A partner with Visualizing Palestine since its founding in 2012, Ahmad is an architect, visual communicator and product designer. He is actively engaged in a variety of projects involving data visualization, visual storytelling and learning through play, and has facilitated courses and workshops based on his practices in cities including Beirut, Amman, London and Bangalore. Ahmad is also co-founder of MyToyTown, a slot-together wooden play system for kids.