In this exhibition, UK based artist Judy Price presents a unique and complex body of work focused on Palestine. Two multi-screen installations and a photographic piece reflect in very different ways on Palestine’s colonial past and the current lived experience of occupation. This exhibition’s subject is timely; 2017 marks 100 years since the Balfour declaration, the British colonial policy between 1917-1948 which resulted in the mass displacement of the Palestinian nation and people.
Within This Narrow Strip Of Land is a multi screen audio-visual installation. The work is a diverse collection of short films, ranging in style, source and technique; some curious, some unsettling, some with accidental moments of beauty. Two are drawn from archives in London’s Imperial War Museum which document the British Mandate period in Palestine (1917-1948). In Assemblage white men in pith helmets, assisted by local people, launch an observation balloon. As it rises, we become party to the process of mapping land which will be used to administrate future occupation. In Reel, off-cuts and discarded frames are edited together and set to a contemporary soundtrack. What was left out is re-viewed, evoking the deliberate blind spots in recorded history. In Light Drinks the Dark we move to present day Palestine; watching a boisterous stag party on a Dead Sea beach from afar. The disparate pieces of the installation create a refracted portrait which refuse a single perspective.
Quarries of Wandering Form explores the stone quarrying industry in Palestine’s West Bank. Composed of film and photographic work, the film White Oil is installed here as a double screen installation for the first time. The film, made over a three year period, is a subtle examination of the impact and workings of the occupation, where much of the material quarried is expropriated by Israeli authorities, used to build settlements and exported as Israeli stone. Moving from day to night Price documents the industrial process of the material extraction and moments in the personal lives of quarry owners, workers and security guards working there. The film is contrasted with a still photograph of an olive tree, damaged by the pollution from the quarries. It makes visible the effects of quarrying on the landscape and symbolises a region which is suffocated by the Occupation yet also resists and endures the violence against it.
Creating a link between this London exhibition and Palestine, White Oil will be screened in Gaza and Ramallah as part of a series of events in the lead up to the opening of the new A.M. Qattan Foundation building later this year. The Foundation’s Public Programme Director Yazid Anani says: ‘The scenic imageries of White Oil, unravel the tragedy of social and environmental hazards forcibly inflicted on Palestinian villages and the olive landscape by the quarrying economy.’
Taken together the works in this exhibition at once inform the viewer and challenge what we see. Price draws back from defining the stories she reveals and through this leaves space for new perspectives to be suggested.
Judy Price works across photography, moving image, sound and installation. She experiments with different techniques and ways of collecting material to address collective struggles and create new perceptions of the experiences of individuals and social groups. Price is a Course Director in Photography (MA) at Kingston University and a Senior Lecturer in Moving Image (BA) at the University of Brighton. Her work has been exhibited and screened internationally including; UK (Imperial War Museum, Barbican, London and Tent Gallery, Edinburgh), Norway (Stiftelsen 3,14,Bergen), Canada (Galerie Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Montreal), Germany (Kunshaus Cinema) and Palestine (Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre, Ramallah and Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, Jerusalem).
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