• gerard van weyenbergh

Palestinian artist exhibits in Israel Museum.

The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the largest museum in Israel, exhibited a Palestinian artist solo for the first time. Two rooms are devoted to Raida Adon, an artist-videographer whose work focuses on exodus and identity search.

The video Strangeness, 2018 (Strangeness) starts with a Romanian song. A group of unidentifiable, well-dressed people roam from place to place. Raida Adon, suitcase in hand, observes from a distance. Other scenes show her inside a suitcase that has become her home.

"I'm not just talking about the situation of the Palestinians; I'm talking in general. A lot of people don't have a country, a flag…" she told the Journal des Arts. According to her, history is repeating itself. It is about talking about the consequences of territorial conquests, the refugees' situation taking their memories with them, and passing them on to future generations.

The curator, Amitai Mendelsohn, explained to the Israeli daily Haaretz , that in the past, Arab or Palestinian artists did not want to exhibit and that this was the subject of debate in the institution. "Our desire is not to exhibit the work of a particular community but to give visibility to good artists regardless of their origin. "

Raida Adon was born in Acre, near Haifa, in northern Israel. Her family did not flee their land during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. She grew up between Palestinian culture at home and Israeli culture daily. Choosing a single identity seems impossible to her: "When I say that I am Palestinian, the Jews are disappointed, because why consider oneself as Palestinian and live in Israel? But this is the reality. I am Palestinian; I speak Arabic; my culture is different. But I tell them, I am also Israeli because I am educated in Israel, I speak Hebrew, I know everything about Israel's culture. So it's the Palestinians who are disappointed, because they want me to choose a side and I won't choose. I have friends on both sides. "

She adds, "They always put you in a box, all the time. Arabs and Jews. They want you to believe in a religion, in an idea. All over the world, they want you to belong to one thing. "

Her refusal to be put in a box, causes a feeling of belonging nowhere. In previous work, the video Woman Without A Home, 2014 , she pushes a bed through empty landscapes until she lands alone on that bed in the sea.

To explain the complexity of the situation in which she finds herself, she recounts her visit, four years ago, to the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. There she wanted - in vain - to exhibit her works: "They did not know how to show them, what my identity is. Because they are supported by a lot of Arabs, and I'm from Israel and Palestine, they couldn't exhibit my videos.

There is little financial support for artists. "It's not easy to live here," she said, "I don't know why people are fighting to be here. "Her art, shows where we accept it. Previously, she exhibited in Tel Aviv, Umm el Fahm, Berlin, Paris, and Tokyo.

When she started her Strangeness project, she knew it was for the Israel Museum. She had known Amitai Mendelsohn for several years and contacted him to see her work and exhibit it. "The Israel Museum does not belong to Israelis alone," says Raida Adon, "if I want to show my grief, I don't need to show it only to the Palestinians. The Palestinians know what happened to me and understand how we feel. I need to talk to the Israelis. It was important to me. "

The Israel Museum was founded in 1965 and featured works of art and archeology. It holds, among other things, the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest biblical manuscripts in the world.

a video showing her work: