CtC’s Artist of the Month for November is Palestinian artist and filmmaker Emily Jacir (Bethlem, 1972).
Engaging with a variety of media, her production ranges from photography and film, to installation, performance, writing and sound. The focus of Jacir’s research encompasses a both autobiographical and socio-political component, with an eye to revealing those aesthetic and poetic elements embedded in the material traces of history and current facts. Hence, the themes explored extend to stories of migration, political resistance, translation and etymology, which gain life through thorough investigations into the paradoxes and contradictions of the contemporary.
Her personal and nomadic experiences, between countries with different cultural backgrounds, have undoubtedly played a crucial role in the formation of Jacir’s artistic practice. She spent her childhood in Saudi Arabia, attending High School in Italy and later graduating with an Art degree from Memphis College of Art, and currently lives between Rome, the US and Ramallah. In the latter, she was active as an artist since 1999, involved in the direction of numerous projects and events with several organisations such as Qattan Foundation, al-Ma’mal Foundation and the Sakakini Cultural Center. In October 2007, Jacir won the Leone d’Oro a un artista under 40 at the 52nd Venice Biennale and, in the same year, the Prince Claus Award from the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development, The Hague. In 2008, she was awarded the Hugo Boss Prize by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and in 2011 she was the Visual Arts winner of the 2011 Alpert Award in the Arts.
The first survey of her work in the UK is currently on display at Whitechapel Gallery, London, under the title Emily Jacir: Europa (30 September 2015 – 3 January 2016), centring on Jacir’s relationship with Europe, Italy and the Mediterranean. A touching highpoint of the show is the vast and immersive Material for a film (2004 -). Winner of the 2007 Leone d’Oro, this installation is constructed on the life of Palestinian writer Wael Zuaiter, who was killed by Israeli Mossad agents in Rome, in 1972 – during his mission to translate One Thousand and One Nights from Arabic to Italian. On this occasion, Jacir stretches the borders between archival documentation, cinema and sound, across a narrative that emphasises her scientific devotion to the act of questioning historical truths, without the influence of exoticism.
For the month of November, CtC will present a selection of Emily Jacir’s works on the Facebook and Twitter pages.
Check the CtC pages regularly to see the next one.
Miriam La Rosa