ART: Art group seeks to bring Picasso canvas to Palestine 4Dec10 December 5, 2010

Ma’an News Agency -  4 December 2010

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — A joint initiative between Ramallah’s International Art Academy Palestine and the Dutch Van Abbe museum in Eindhoven hopes to bring an original masterpiece by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso to Ramallah to be placed on public display at the academy.

The project has raised questions about the status of Palestine and its ability to host internationally renowned works safely.

Caretakers of some of the world’s most precious historic items, the art group says the process of bringing the painting to Ramallah involved a re-examination of international business agreements, the Oslo Accords and the context of the Palestinian art scene.

“This all works to highlight the abnormality of the Palestinian reality and [leads us to] question the nature of the Palestinian entity,” the organizers said in a statement.

What began as a simple request to the Dutch museum to borrow Picasso’s ‘Buste de Femme’ (1943), with an estimated value of millions of dollars, became an “elaborate research on procedure,” organizers said.

“In a political and geographical space that is highly defined by occupational tactics, it is clear that difficult situations will pinpoint in several ways the practicalities of this very occupation.

“Without strictly only speaking in terms of occupation and directly referring to it, Picasso to Ramallah hopes to speak out hope beyond the frame of military occupation. It will however relate to it, but will never take the direct form of it,” organizers wrote.

The project is also being documented on film, directed by Rashid Mashharawi, and will later be displayed in Eindhoven under the title “Picasso Visits Palestine.”

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