Museum to connect Palestinian diaspora

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Museum to connect Palestinian diaspora

DUBAI — The concept for a unique new multi-million-dollar museum to connect Palestinians around the world will be presented at Art Dubai this week.

By Sarah Young

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Published: Wed 20 Mar 2013, 11:13 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 8:27 AM

Building will begin this year on the new museum based on the hills of Birzeit on the West Bank, and will be expected to open next year.

Chairman of the Museum Task Force Omar Al Qattan said Art Dubai was their first international outing, and chance to “connect with this scene”.

Visitors check out artworks and installations displayed as part of Art Dubai 2013 at Madinat Jumeirah. The annual fair ends on Saturday. — KT photos by Rahul Gajjar

The museum, which will be thematically based and include an innovative mix of exhibitions, research, and education programmes, was the first of its kind in occupied territory in Palestine, he said.

It was also unique in that it was not a traditional museum model based around a collection, but was a ‘work in progress’, and “a project to have a home for people’s ideas, experiences and objects”.

One of the first exhibitions would centre around ‘what does home mean?’, and includes objects that people might have taken with them when they are forced to leave their homes.

The museum will also feature a digital platform — expected to use about one-third of the running cost budget — to connect Palestinians and others around the world, using social media and online features where people may be able to upload photos, films and documents to share.

“We think of ourselves as a home, hub or place to come to ... we will be connecting with a lot of institutions across the world where there is a Palestinian diaspora ... Chile, Lebanon, South America, Jordan.”

Even in Palestine, only about 2.5 million of 12 million Palestinians were expected to be able to access the museum due to movement restrictions, he said.

The museum would also integrate the fragmented nature of Palestine itself by connecting with the three different areas and local initiatives — whether it was a man in a refugee camp in Lebanon who has a museum of keys bought with people when they left their homes, or a collector in Jordan looking for a home for paintings about Palestine, he said.

They also hoped to engage people in questions and issues being discussed in society, such as what role Palestinian women played politically and socially, and how the arts have treated this issue.

Designed by Heneghan Peng Architects, which also designed the new Grand Museum of Egypt in Cairo, phase one of the building will cost about $11 million. Phase two — a further 6,000 square metre to add to the first 3,000 square metre in about five years — has not yet been costed.

Running costs were expected to be at $1million for the first couple of years, Al Qattan said.

Funding from donors had pulled together most of the architectural, civil construction, and electrical engineering costs, but they were still short of about $2-3 million which they were hoping to raise, along with running costs and an endowment of $20-30 million over the next five years, he said.

sarah@khaleejtimes.com



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