FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Walking Into the Art World

On my first day at work with the project to establish the new International Academy of Art in Palestine, I had no idea what Tayseer Barakat, the popular Palestinian artist meant when he said ‘We will start this academy and just fly.’ I had just stepped into a new and different world of art this November 2006 that overwhelmed me with all of the talented artists around me, on the board of directors and in the office dropping in to check on what’s the status of such a unique and alternative educational project. Fly? I thought in my mind I surely need a helicopter to fly from my home in Taybeh to the Ramallah office since the last six years I have suffered terribly just trying to bring my children to school every day under the worse conditions I have experienced in Palestine the last twenty-five years.

I had no idea Tayseer Barakat meant I will have the honor to fly with the dreams that Palestinian artists have had for over thirty years in creating a space for artists to express themselves and to be a reflection of the cultural, political and social atmosphere of our times and use art as a powerful tool to promote change. The work involved literally flying to the printers to create an introductory brochure, a website and invitations to launch on December 7, 2006 this fascinating project of establishing an exquisite higher education institution in Palestine wishing to grant a B.A. degree in fine arts following the first steps of making an application to the Ministry of Higher Education for accreditation.

This new academic year held the goals of accepting and teaching the first art students in September 2007 with the deadline for Fall applications being March 15, 2007. We need everything around the academy just to quickly fly our way including talented students, expert teachers, money and of course a large building that would eventually house a larger exhibition hall, studios and state of the art library currently available at the Aref Al Aref Renowned House, also known as Gallery 79, behind the Arab Bank El Birieh Branch, Ramallah entrance.

The individual who has made a huge difference behind the scenes of this institution-building project is Henrik Placht of the partner institution, Oslo National Academy of Arts in Norway, an extraordinary artist himself, who has worked hard for more than four years to organize, lobby, curate, network, fundraise and give birth to an alternative form of peaceful resistance and find an institution that will focus on offering new images of Palestinians to the local population and international community. He came to Palestine and met with many local artists including the leading Palestinian artists Suleiman Mansour and Nabil Anani with the charming artist Khaled Hourani, Sameer Salameh, Tayseer Barakat, all helping to initiate the project to establish the International Academy of Art in Palestine. Musleih Kananeh, professor of Birzeit University was also very instrumental in establishing the first contacts for this capacity building project.

In 2001 and 2002 when Ramallah was under severe curfews and bombings, there were actually people on the ground thinking how to fly out of the cycle of violence and think creatively in alternative peaceful ways to resist the brutal military occupation aimed at wiping out Palestinians from the face of their beloved homeland. Academic Art Education by its nature promotes tolerance and reconciliation through visual arts. The International Academy of Art Palestine will take a leading role to maintain the collective Palestinian history and identity.

I must admit I do have some people that help me fly with the ideas, objectives and goals in establishing the International Academy of Art in Palestine with the prominent Jerusalem lawyer, Mazen Qupty, the chairman of the board of directors with the very brilliant Reem Fadda, the director of the Palestinian Association of Contemporary Arts (PACA) are a huge driving force behind this exceptional project.

I have promised PACA to represent this prestigious institution with all of the passion I have for Palestine and symbolically fly to the highest star in the sky so that one day after much dedication, commitment and perseverance, the International Academy of Art Palestine will be the new shinning star of the region seeking to educate the artists of tomorrow and hopefully finding donors to sustain the project beyond the initial three years funding generously provided by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry.

The Norwegian partners have agreed to provide consultation in helping anchor the curriculum within an Arab-Middle Eastern society. I have the honor to fly with the dream of establishing a distinctive educational institution having a new voice in Palestine and make it a reality starting with the first students September 2007. Thus when the sparkle in Tayseer’s eyes said ‘fly’ it really meant the sky is the limit to the success the International Academy of Art Palestine can achieve with local and international support.

MARIA C. KHOURY, project manager, IAAP is a graduate of Hellenic College, Harvard University & Boston University with a Doctor of Education degree and returned to Palestine with her husband Daoud C. Khoury, Mayor of Taybeh, following the Oslo Agreement to help boost the economy by producing Taybeh Beer. She has published many articles worldwide about the brutal Israeli occupation. She can be reached at: director@artacademy.ps

 

 

More articles by:
July 15, 2020
Jennifer Loewenstein
Forging Greater Israel: Annexation by Any Other Name
John Davis
This is No Way to Live
Melvin Goodman
Bolton’s Book is Not the “Bomb” as Advertised
Kenneth Surin
Boris Johnson’s “Blundering Brilliance”…Now Only the Blundering Remains
Daniel Warner
Audacity and Hope in the Summer of Discontent
Thomas Klikauer – Nadine Campbell
Propaganda Beyond Trump
Omar Ramahi
Hagia Sophia and the Catastrophe of Symbolism
Binoy Kampmark
The Yeezy Effect: Kanye West Joins the Presidential Race
Robin Wonsley – Ty Moore
Minneapolis Ballot Measure to Dismantle the Police Will Test the Strength of Our Movement
Robert Jensen
‘Cancel Culture’ Cannot Erase a Strong Argument
Tom Clifford
Jack Charlton, Soccer and Ireland’s Working Class
Elliot Sperber
Mother Goose in the End Times
July 14, 2020
Anthony DiMaggio
Canceling the Cancel Culture: Enriching Discourse or Dumbing it Down?
Patrick Cockburn
Boris Johnson Should not be Making New Global Enemies When His Country is in a Shambles
Frank Joyce
Lift From the Bottom? Yes.
Richard C. Gross
The Crackdown on Foreign Students
Steven Salaita
Should We Cancel “Cancel Culture”?
Paul Street
Sorry, the Chicago Blackhawks Need to Change Their Name and Logo
Jonathan Cook
‘Cancel Culture’ Letter is About Stifling Free Speech, Not Protecting It
John Feffer
The Global Rushmore of Autocrats
C. Douglas Lummis
Pillar of Sand in Okinawa
B. Nimri Aziz
Soft Power: Americans in Its Grip at Home Must Face the Mischief It Wields by BNimri Aziz July 11/2020
Cesar Chelala
What was lost when Ringling Bros. Left the Circus
Dan Bacher
California Regulators Approve 12 New Permits for Chevron to Frack in Kern County
George Wuerthner
Shrinking Wilderness in the Gallatin Range
Lawrence Davidson
Woodrow Wilson’s Racism: the Basis For His Support of Zionism
Binoy Kampmark
Mosques, Museums and Politics: the Fate of Hagia Sophia
Dean Baker
Propaganda on Government Action and Inequality from David Leonhardt
July 13, 2020
Gerald Sussman
The Russiagate Spectacle: Season 2?
Ishmael Reed
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Perry Mason Moment
Jack Rasmus
Why the 3rd Quarter US Economic ‘Rebound’ Will Falter
W. T. Whitney
Oil Comes First in Peru, Not Coronavirus Danger, Not Indigenous Rights
Ralph Nader
The Enduring Case for Demanding Trump’s Resignation
Raghav Kaushik – Arun Gupta
On Coronavirus and the Anti-Police-Brutality Uprising
Deborah James
Digital Trade Rules: a Disastrous New Constitution for the Global Economy Written by and for Big Tech
Howard Lisnoff
Remembering the Nuclear Freeze Movement and Its Futility
Sam Pizzigati
Will the Biden-Sanders Economic Task Force Rattle the Rich?
Allen Baker
Trump’s Stance on Foreign College Students Digs US Economic Hole Even Deeper
Binoy Kampmark
The Coronavirus Seal: Victoria’s Borders Close
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Power, Knowledge and Virtue
Weekend Edition
July 10, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Lynnette Grey Bull
Trump’s Postcard to America From the Shrine of Hypocrisy
Anthony DiMaggio
Free Speech Fantasies: the Harper’s Letter and the Myth of American Liberalism
David Yearsley
Morricone: Maestro of Music and Image
Jeffrey St. Clair
“I Could Live With That”: How the CIA Made Afghanistan Safe for the Opium Trade
Rob Urie
Democracy and the Illusion of Choice
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail