The Art Institute of Chicago is currently viewing a joint exhibition by Palestinian art duo, Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme. In “If only this mountain between us could be ground to dust,” the two combine ongoing multimedia projects with site-specific work commissioned by the museum to meditate on what the artists believe as the narrative erasure of the Palestinian experience.
The exhibition is the first US museum showing by Abbas and Abou-Rahme and features an immersive display of film, performance, sound, and text. In Oh shining star testify (2019–21), the artists compile CCTV surveillance footage of Yusuf Shawamre, a 14-year old Palestinian boy who was killed by Israeli Defense Forces back in 2014 and note of the subsequent erasure that can occur as the internet becomes oversaturated with imagery.
Abbas and Abou-Rahme also incorporate digital avatars that were created from images of protestors from the 2018 Great March of Return, which saw groups of Palestinians advocating to end the 12-year blockade that separated them from what they believe as “their ancestral homeland.”
More than just a comment on the regional crisis between the two nations, the artists invite us to reflect on how all historic moments are captured and preserved within the digital age. How this entanglement of bodies and erasure of images might happen and under what circumstances might they reappear. “If only this mountain between us could be ground to dust” is on view at the Art Institute of Chicago until January 3.
Also on view, Ania Hobson’s “I See You” has opened at Düsseldorf’s SETAREH X.
Art Institute of Chicago
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Chicago, IL 60603
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