“And wherever I am, I am simply a human being, nothing else. I don’t belong to political parties or religious factions. I consider myself a patriot wherever I am, and strive to improve my surroundings whether they are American, British, Ottoman or African, whether they are Christian, Muslim or pagan. I only work to serve knowledge, and knowledge has no homeland. What is a patriot? If being a patriot means to be sound of body, strong, active, enlightened, moral, affable and kind, then I am a patriot. But if patriotism means favouring one school over another and showing one’s brother hostility if he is from a different school or country, then I am no patriot.”*
The exhibition ‘If I were a Patriot?’ sheds light on the role Palestinian academic institutions play in their urban environment. Students and teachers from the Department of Architecture at Birzeit University, Al-Quds Bard College for Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the International Academy of Art Palestine come together in this project to trace the transformations that took place in their urban surrounding through engaging in historical research in the archives and narrations pertaining to some places and buildings. The work unveils moments in history in which the same urban environment witnessed different sets of social and cultural norms, and where the aspiration for liberation acquired different meaning at different times. In this experiment, students and teachers embark on learning outside the confinement of the traditional space of the classroom, to gain different knowledge in which the urban environment becomes a source of inspiration, and a site for investigation and learning.
The exhibition direction is inspired by prison diaries of the writer and educator Khalil Sakakini, whereby he questions his loyalties to his inherited cultural idioms and his position toward the Ottoman administration at that time.
*Citation: Khalil Sakakini, Khalil Sakakini’s Ottoman Prison Diaries – Damascus (1917-1918), Journal of Palestinian Studies, January 2004, 20. p.p 7.
Curator: Yazid Anani
Participating Students: Asma Nemer , Eman Zubedi, Raneen Abu Qwik, Reham Abed Al Rahman, Rita Abu Ghagab, Saja Zuhyka ,Sundos Khater, Shayma’ Nader, Sabrena Naser, Salah Dauod , Fadi Abu Ne’meh, Qais Asali, Kasi Asbrot Jacson, Lama Al Takrori, Hadeel Mustafa, Wafa’ Mer’e.
The exhibition is funded by Prince Claus Fund, in partnership with the Department of Architecture - Birzeit University, Al-Quds Bard College for Liberal Arts and Sciences, the International Academy of Art Palestine, Palestinian Art Court - Al Hoash, Palestinian Circus School and Ramallah Municipality.