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Facing Gaza

On view October 2-9, 2021 | Art by Robert Hardwick Weston, curated by Ahmed Mansour

Join us for a week-long pop-up exhibition about Gaza. Learn more about the works of art, film, and opening events below.

Facing Gaza by Robert Hardwick Weston

Facing Gaza is a series of works that grasps, captures, and relates the devastation inflicted on Gaza by Israel during the 2014 War in the broader social context of Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestine. Each photo-montage in the series engages one specific day in the 50-day war, bringing into juxtaposition two images posted to Facebook on that day – an image posted by a Facebook user in Gaza alongside an image posted that same day by a Facebook user in Israel. Each image is stamped with the respective name of the Facebook user, their hometown, and the date the image was posted, then cut and glued into a single composite image. Bringing circumstantially remote images into close imaginary contact, the compositions generate visible tensions and contradictions that present in stark relief two vastly different wartime realities.

Sword of Jerusalem from They Camped on the Land and Ruined the Crops all the Way to Gaza and Did Not Spare a Living Thing

They Camped on the Land and Ruined the Crops all the Way to Gaza and Did Not Spare a Living Thing by Robert Hardwick Weston

This series of analog photo-montages represents the human cost of major military assaults by Israel on Gaza between 2004-2021. Each work consists of images documenting the event at the time, including photojournalism disseminated across news and social media platforms, and images uploaded directly to Facebook by active IDF soldiers and by civilians on the ground in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel.

Angel of Gaza film by Ahmed Mansour

An 8-year-old Malak narrates her family’s arduous journey of romance, endless love, sacrifice and reunification with her father, in the U.S, after 7-year of forced separation. Angel of Gaza is a close-up portrait of a Palestinian child from Gaza and how they see the world around them.

Malak in Angel of Gaza by Ahmed Mansour

Saturday, October 2 Opening Events

2 p.m. – Performance by Luci Murphy. Opening remarks by Executive Director Bshara Nassar, Guest Curator Ahmed Mansour, Malak and family, and Artist Robert Hardwick Weston.

2:30 p.m. – Performance by the Foty Fusion band

4:30 p.m. – Q&A with artist Robert Hardwick Weston

5 p.m.-7 p.m. – Enjoy the open buffet of Gazan food

7-9 p.m. – Screenings of Angel of Gaza film

About Robert Hardwick Weston

Artist-scholar Robert Hardwick Weston teaches philosophy and human rights at Bard
College in upstate New York, where he coordinates the program in gender and sexuality
studies. Based in Ramallah from 2009 to 2011, Hardwick Weston helped establish the
Al-Quds-Bard Honors College in Abu Dis, Palestine, where he taught and served as
academic dean. While living in Palestine, Hardwick Weston began to explore
alternative, image-based approaches to social analysis, applying scholarly research
methods to the systematic tracking and documentation of socially mediated images
representing daily life under Israeli occupation. Over the past decade he has assembled
an extensive digital archive that organizes tens of thousands of images collected from
the profiles of thousands of Facebook users in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, and
catalogues them according to distinct cultural patterns that recur with regularity across
digitally mediated social networks. Spanning the period from 2005 to 2021, these
expanding archives supply images for an ongoing series of projects Hardwick Weston
calls “visual criticism,” a form developed in response to Walter Benjamin’s call for
Bilderkritik—criticism, not of, but through images. Adapting Benjamin’s experiments with
montage as method for producing history and social critique, Hardwick Weston’s
projects seek to document, analyze, and represent complex social and political realities
exclusively through the juxtaposition of images. The projects on exhibit reveal how
image-based criticism can illuminate aspects of social reality and culture that have
proven resistant to conventional methods of sociology, ethnography, or cultural
analysis. To this end, his work redeploys analog techniques of photomontage pioneered
during the historical avantgarde by artist-critics like John Heartfield and Hannah Höch,
who saw montage as political weapon and developed the form into an extremely
effective instrument of social critique.

About Ahmed Mansour

Visionary-filmmaker Ahmed Mansour directs and produces films that express his life details as a refugee in Gaza. He earned his undergraduate degree in Arabic and English interpretation at Gaza University to help him in translating his message to wider audiences. In 2018, Ahmed completed his masters degree in News and Documentary from New York University to help him in visualizing his message. Ahmed’s debut feature film Brooklyn Inshallah premiered in 2019, is about the first Palestinian to ever run for New York City Council in Brooklyn, and will be broadcasted on America Reframed (PBS) and TRT World in December. Ahmed curated a series of art exhibits in Gaza under the name of “Peace Message” after the 2012 and 2014 Israeli military assaults. 

Click here to watch Peace Message, a film by Ahmed Mansour made in 2015. Of the film and exhibition, Mansour said, “In April 2015, four months before I left Gaza, I got my next opportunity to produce another film. It was an artistic exhibition called “Peace Message Two”, the second in a series that we, the Languages Club, began back in 2013 at Gaza University. I am highly interested in arts and cultures and since the last video had shown the pain of my people I felt there was a need to also create a piece of film art that radiated the hope.”