The Man who Talked until He Disappeared

November 5, 2022 to February 28, 2023 - 14:00 to 16:00

Birziet University Museum in collaboration with A.M. Qattan Foundation are pleased to announce the opening of our exhibition: “The Man Who Talked Until He Disappeared: Bani Abidi in Palestine”.

Rana Barakat, Director, BZU Museum​

With the theme that reality is often stranger than fiction and the combination of the two captures the contradictions of life, BZU Museum and A.M. Qattan Foundation present the first solo exhibition for Bani Abidi in Palestine. Through an intense and ongoing collaboration with the artist and Experimenter, we together here present a “Palestinian translation” of her innovative work. Cognizant of the play of both translation and nationalism, Bani’s work enables us to continue a conversation among ourselves as we work to refuse and resist the boundaries and borders imposed through modernity, coloniality and vicious capitalism. Bani shows us that artistic expression and experimentation at once embodies and deifies the work of translation and transformation. This exhibit is an invitation to nurture our collective conversations. Exhibiting pieces that combine various mediums, Bani’s subtle and provocative style transforms BZU Museum into a journey in the absurdity of life and the sweet and often bitter reality that we survive.

Through this survey of Bani Abidi’s work, we navigate the barriers and impasses imposed on the (im)mobility of the oppressed. Walking among the work of Bani’s imagination, the space of BZU Museum is transformed into one that connects the metaphysical as well as physical in waiting at borders and boundaries. We witness, observe and experience travel in a world dominated by control. We walk among barriers imposed by the absurd and fantastical iterations of security, through a contemplation of masculine power that holds us in anticipation of performance. As we continue to wait for the real and the disappeared, we walk into an intimate presentation of bittersweet letters lost in archives of all the seemingly small and huge obstacles of violence of modernity. Bani takes us into the theatre of the absurd where humor seems to be a useful antidote for the fanatical ridiculousness of official powers. Her work travels between a deep commentary on militaristic nationalism, the masculinity of power, the absurdity and fear- mongering of borders, the audacity of the imposition of ‘security’ on everyday life. All the while, we do not lose a sense of the somber reality of oppressed people navigating through life to survive. With a keen sense of humor and an ability to expose the brutal audacity of everyday navigation through all of its ironies and contradictions, Bani’s work invites to think otherwise.

Every piece in this exhibition was re-produced locally and transformed to reveal and expose the contradictions of contemporary life from Karachi to Palestine and all the stations in between. As spaces that share a history of forced fragmentation and colonial partition, we show here how we also share a commonality. Fraught with violence and dislocation, Bani creates a stage colored by humor. Palestine is only an exceptional terrain if we give into the the frameworks imposed through colonial power. In this exhibition, we not only defy that imposition, but Bani Abidi guides us into a means and method of how to resist through artist expression and experimentation.


Birzeit University