End of the residency of Sary Zananiri

Presentation of a research and creation stage

La Camargo Foundation and the Mahmoud Darwish Chair, together with BOZARla Fondation A.M. Qattan and the Mucem, have launched their joint residency program “If there were a There, it would be…”.

The objective of this residency is to contribute to a contemporary discussion of Darwish’s legacy as well as to support scholars and artists from the Arab world. The four applicants for this program were selected with this objective in mind as well as the multidisciplinary nature of their proposal, their positioning at the intersection of art and research, their ability to link the personal and the universal, and to question history as well as contemporary national and international politics. The committee expects the laureates to unveil future spaces and dig into the past and its legacies.

Sary Zananiri is a Palestinian artist and cultural historian interested in colonialism, modernity, and the construction of religious and nationalist narratives through visual culture, both through religious iconography and the history of photography for political and military purposes. He has exhibited in Europe, the Middle East, and Australia, as well as recently curating exhibitions at the Rijksmuseum Oudheden (May-October 2020), and Haus der Kulturen der Welt for ALMS (June 2019). He has co-edited two open-access volumes: Imaging and Imagining Palestine: Photography, Modernity and the Biblical Lens (Brill, 2021) and European Cultural Diplomacy and Arab Christians in Palestine: Between Contention and Connection (Palgrave McMillan, 2021). Zananiri is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Leiden University.

Darwish’s famous line “where should the birds fly after the last sky?” holds an iconic status, producing the sky as space of exile and diaspora. The sky has been a site of often-contradictory narratives – a heavenly site looking down upon the ‘Holy Land’, a space of modernity with technologies of air travel and surveillance and a dystopian site of conflict. Sary Zananiri’s project at Camargo Talking Back to the Sky investigates the ways in which the sky has been mobilised in visual culture. It addresses the evolving and unstable Palestinian relationship to the sky, and considers how its omnipotent dominance might be readdressed.