Mathematics of the Palestinian Nakba75
Exhibition Dates: 12th May –
10th 24th June 2023
Exhibition Opening Night: Thursday 11th May 2023, 18:30 – 20:30
P21 Gallery presents Mathematics of the Palestinian Nakba75, an exhibition with public program of activities. The featured works comprise video works, prints, and photography.
Contrary to Common Belief, The Nakba did not happen in 1948, but had its roots in November 1917.
That is when Lord James Balfour, who was born excatly 100 years before The Nakba, and was the British Foreign Secretary in 1917, sat down in his office and wrote his infamous Declaration offering Palestine, a country not his own, as a ‘National Home for the Jewish People”.
67 words that sealed the fate of Palestine.
3000 miles to the east, the same time the Balfour Declaration was issued, Field Marshal Edmund Henry Allenby was entering Jerusalem on horseback – thus ending Ottoman rule lasting 400 years.
In 1919, WW1 ended. The Ottoman Empire collapsed. The British Empire laid claim to Palestine.
In 1919, the League of Nations mandated Palestine to the British under Article 22 of the League of Nations dated 1919. Palestine was seen as a Class A Mandate ready for self-governance when the Manadate ends in 1948.
With Zionist lobbying, the British Mandate adopted the Balfour Declaration as its twin document thus sealing the fate of that Class A Mandate.
In 1919 The population of Palestine was 750,000 of which 84,000 were Jews mostly immigrants to Palestine.
In 1930 Balfour died, aged 82, before his dream was realised: a Jewish Home in Palestine.
His dream became a nightmare for the Palestinian people. The 1936-1939 Palestine Revolt erupted: 5000 Palestinians were killed, 15,000 injured and 5,500 imprisoned.
By 1947 and 30 years after Balfour, the 84,000 Jews became 600,000 - mostly through illegal immigration. The indigenous Palestinians numbered 1.3 Million hailed from the Land of Palestine.
And exactly 30 years after the Balfour Declaration, the British handed a wounded Palestine over to the UN. That was 1947.
By 1948, the last year of the Mandate, 13 British High Commisioners had governed Palestine, but failed to steer it to independence.
By 1948, the Empire was getting old and was bleeding from acts of terror by the Irgun and the Haganah, the two main underground Jewish gangs operating there.
And exactly 30 years after Balfour Declaration, its promise of “ a National Home for the Jewish people” in Palestine was to be realised in November 1947.
UN General Assembly Res 181, The Partition Plan of 29 November 1947, was written, forced down the throats of the 1.5 Million Palestinians and adopted.
By not consulting the indigenous Palestinians, The UN had violated its won principle of Self-Determination – Article 1(2) of its Charter.
The vote roll, mostly by UN members who has nothing to do with Palestine was:
33 for, 13 against and 10 abstentions (including the British).
To add insult to injury, the UN declared that Palestine will patitioned into two unequal parts: 44% of the Land of Palestine was allocated to the indigenous Palestinians and 56% the the Jews who were mosty illegal immigrants.
Jerusalem was to be a Corpus Separatum zone under UN administration.
The Jews rejoiced. The Palestinians and the Arab countries protested.
The Jewish underground gangs, seeing upon this political vacuum and instability, went on a military rampage with the aim of implementing the Zionist project in the whole of Palestine.
By the end of 1948, 30 years after Balfour, some 700,000 Palestinians had been expelled from their homes and more than 500 of their villages and towns were destroyed while the world looked on.
By the end of 1948, 25 documented massacres were committed by the Zionist underground gangs. The most infamous of these was Deir Yasin in April 1948.
And by the time the Armstice Agreements were drawn up in 1949 for the cessation of hostilities, the Zionist gangs, now under the official status of the newly declarded State, had occupied 77% of Historic Palestine while the world looked on.
On the eve of the Sabbath May 14, 1948 the State of Israel was unilaterally declared over the ruins and the ashes of the land of Historic Palestine.
On the eve of the Sabbath May 14, 1948, 37 Zionist leaders from all over the world gathered at the Tel Aviv Museum on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv to sign a “Declaration of Independence” for a state without defined borders, without a Constitution and without legitimacy. That remains so to this day.
Of the 37 Zionists gathered for that Declaration, the oldest was 82. The youngest was not yet 30.
Of the 37 Zionists gathered, 3 became prime ministers, 1 became president and 14 became cabinet ministers.
Of the 37 Zionists gathered, 13 were born in Russia, 11 in Poland, 2 in Romania, 2 in Germany , 2 in Lithuania, 1 in Austria, 1 in Hungary, 1 in Denmark, 1 in Yemen.
Of the 37 Zionists gathered, only 1 was born in Palestine (and his family hailed from a colonial Moroccan background).
Of the 1.5 million Palestinians, all 1.5 million Palestinians were born in Palestine.
One day before that Declaration, The British Empire packed their gear and left Palestine to the wolves – 31 years after Allenby had entered it.
To this day, 75 years after the ‘creation of Israel’, and 105 years after the Balfour Declaration was issued, the Palestinian people continue to reject the Partition of their historic homeland, and to declare that, under International Law and in accordance with UN Resolutions, the acquisition of territory by military means is illegal and is forcefully rejected.
To this day, 75 years after the ‘creation of Israel,’ and 105 years after the Balfour Declaration was issued, the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine continues and the Palestinian Nakba is ongoing.
That is The Mathematics of the Palestinian Nakba75.
Curated by Antoine Raffoul and Yahya Zaloom
Artists: Ahmad Al-Bazz, Gill Mualem-Doron, Najwa Najjar, and Mario Rizzi.
Ahmad Al-Bazz is an independent journalist, photojournalist, and documentary filmmaker based in the Palestine region, who focuses on Palestinian-Israeli affairs. He is a member of the Activestills photography collective, which has been operating in Palestine since 2005.
Al-Bazz has produced two independent award-winning short documentaries: “To My Mother” (Palestine, 2014) and “Homenessness” (UK, 2018). His first feature-length documentary, “Donkey Boys,” was recently pitched at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival and is expected to be released later this year.
Gil Mualem-Doron is an award-winning transdisciplinary artist, researcher, and curator. Gil’s work investigates issues such as identity & place, histories of displacement, embodied experiences of migration, the legacies of colonialism, social practices, and transcultural aesthetics. His PhD thesis “The Dead Zone & The Architecture of Transgression” incorporates these issues as well as investigates historical and contemporary urban planning concepts from postcolonial perspectives.
His work has been exhibited extensively in the UK and abroad including at the Tate Modern, the Turner Contemporary, Liverpool Museum, People’s History Museum, Haifa Museum of Art, Ha’aretz Museum.
He had solo exhibitions at P21 Gallery, Rich Mix and the Arts Depot galleries in London, ONCA gallery, Brighton, Umm El Fahem Palestinian Gallery and the Architect’s House (Jaffa), East66 – Centre for Urban Research (Amsterdam), Greatmore Studios (Cape Town) and Centre for Urban Ecology (Detroit).
Gil has won awards from bodies such as the Henry Ford Foundation, the Chevening Award for leadership, and the Art Council England and commissions from such as The Mayor of London, The World Re-Imagined, Counterpoints Arts, and Ben & Jerry’s.
Writer/Director Najwa Najjar has explored several new artistic grounds having written, directed and produced over a dozen critically acclaimed award-winning films premiering in Cairo, Berlin, Cannes, Locarno and Sundance. In 2020 she was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and in 2021 she was elected to the European Film Academy EFA. In 2021 Najjar was honoured for her work at the Awsan International Women’s Film Festival and at the Tiro Arts Festival in Lebanon.
With a MA Film (US) she has worked in both documentary and fiction since 2000. Her critically acclaimed debut was the feature film Pomegranates and Myrrh (2009) which premiered at Sundance Film Festival, then screened at over 60 festivals including Rotterdam, Cairo, Gothenburg Film Festivals, grabbing many awards along the way. Her second award winning film Eyes of a Thief (2014) was selected for the Sundance Writer’s Lab and was the Palestinian nomination for the 2015 Oscars Best Foreign Film in addition to winning several prestigious writing and directing awards.
Her third feature film Between Heaven and Earth Nov 2019 won the 41st Cairo IFF Naguib Mahfouz Best Screenplay award (now reaping more awards), and was selected to the European Film Academy Awards 2020, Golden Globes, Asia Pacific Screen Awards, and nominated to the Icelandic TV and Film Academy Awards. Najjar is presently in development of her 4th feature film Kiss of a Stranger, a musical.
Her repertoire also includes several award-winning films also shown worldwide (Berlin, Cannes, Locarno, Hamptons): Yasmine Tughani (2006), Naim and Wadee’a (2000), Quintessence of Oblivion (2001), Blue Gold (2004), A Boy Called Mohamad (2002), and They Came from the East which opened the 2004 European Academy Awards. Najjar produced a collection of short films by international filmmakers Gaza Winter (2009).
A speaker on numerous panels on cinema and a Jury member of several International Film Festivals, she has given Director and Writer Masterclasses, and has recently started giving workshops to emerging writers and directors including the recent Halem Screenwriters Workshop. Najjar has reviewed books, and written articles on Palestinian cinema. She has been a reader for the Sundance Lab for Arab scriptwriters and has been an advisor for the Sundance Scriptwriter’s Lab.
She lives in Palestine.
Mario Rizzi (Barletta, Italy, 1962) is an Italian artist and filmmaker based in Berlin.
His films explore the notion of the border, particularly in relation to issues of identity and belonging, and deal with the lives of social outsiders, focusing on collective memories and individual stories that are often forgotten or untold. Over the past 30 years, his films and photographs have focused mainly on the Middle East, especially Palestine and Turkey, and on the theme of migration.
His work was shown in art institutions and film festivals, including: Manifesta, Prishtina (2022); Berlinische Galerie, Berlin (2022); EVA Ireland’s International Biennial of Contemporary Art (2021); Helsinki Biennial (2021); Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato (2019); Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe (2016); MAXXI Museum, Rome (2015); MoMA PS1, New York (2014); MAK, Vienna (2013); Kunstverein Hannover (2013); Villa Romana (2013); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2008); Taipei Biennial (2008); Tate Modern, London (2007); Göteborg International Biennial (2007); Istanbul Biennial (2005); Tirana Biennial (2005); MART, Rovereto (2004); Sydney Biennial (2004).
Rizzi is the recipient of the Premio Gallarate of the MA*GA Museum in Italy (2022), the Italian Council Award of the Italian Ministry of Culture (2019), the Production Programme Award of the Sharjah Art Foundation (2012), the Best Artist Award at the 7th Sharjah Biennial (2005), and the Mulliqi Prize in Kosovo (2004).
His films were selected for the Berlin Film Festival Official Competition (2008 and 2013), as well as the 9th Palestine Cinema Days (2022), the Festival Ciné-Palestine in Paris (2022), Ankara International Film Festival (2015 and 2016) and Dubai International Film Festival (2013).
In 2016, he was a jury member at the Duhok International Film Festival in Iraqi Kurdistan and the Ankara International Film Festival in Turkey.
His works are in prestigious public collections such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the MAXXI Museum in Rome, the Sharjah Art Foundation, the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Helsinki Art Museum, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris.
In January 2021 Angelica Zucconi, a recent graduate from the University of Pisa wrote her thesis entitled “The BAYT trilogy by Mario Rizzi: analysis of the films and the artist’s language”.
Antoine Raffoul is a Palestinian Architect (RET) residing in Italy.
He was born in Nazareth, Palestine in 1941 and lived with his 10-member-family (3 generations) in Haifa until April 1948 when they were expelled on the 8th April. The family headed north on an UNRWA open-decked truck to settle in Tripoli, Lebanon.
He was never able to return.
Antoine received his diploma (Hons) in Architecture in 1968 from the University of Illinois, USA and later practiced in the city of New York for 3 years. During these turbulent years in America, immediately after the 1967 war I the Middle East, the mass protests against the Vietnam war the Earth Day movement against Global Warming, Antoine formed a campaign group with other Palestinian, American and foreign nationals to call for the return of all Palestinian refugees to their homeland.
These activities drew the ire of the then-uninitiated Meir Kahane extremist group in Manhattan resulting in fierce confrontations.
In 1971, Antoine moved to London where he acquired the British citizenship. Parallel with a successful architectural career spanning 35 years, he conducted a campaign for a free and democratic Palestine and for the Return of the Palestinian refugees to their homeland.
In 2006 he started an architectural project to save the Palestinian village of Lifta, west of Jerusalem, which was threatened with demolition by the occupying Jerusalem Municipality. This eventually led to a ‘provisional listing’ of Lifta on the UNESCO register. Final status is still pending.
In 2013, Antoine was invited by Aljazeera Documentary Channel to produce a one-hour documentary on Lifta and its history. He conducted several TV interviews and documentaries for various organisations to highlight the case of Lifta and the Palestinian Nakba.
As Zionist campaigns of misinformation increased after the criminal attacks on Gaza, Beirut and in occupied Palestine, Antoine decided in 2006 to build an online platform providing factual historic and well documented information on the origins of the Palestinian Nakba. The Palestinian Nakba did not originate in 1948, but back in 1917 with the issue of the racist Balfour Declaration.
The Online Platform is: 1948: Lest We Forget available at www.1948.org.uk
At present, Antoine is the Coordinator for The Competition for The Reconstruction of Palestinian Villages, a project spearheaded by Dr Salman Abu Sitta founder of the Palestine Land Society. This Competition (now in its 6th year) is open to all Palestinian and Arab architectural students from the Middle East. It is hoped that it will soon expand to include international students as well.
Antoine Raffoul is a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), ICOMOS (advisors to UNESCO) and of CIAV (advisors to ICOMOS).
He supports a One Democratic State in all of historic Palestine.
Yahya Zaloom is an artistic director at the P21 Gallery (London), of Jordanian origin. Yahya holds a BA in Mixed Media Fine Arts (University of Westminster, London), an MA in Visual Culture (University of Westminster, London), and currently studying MA in Art Curation by practice (University of Teesside, Middlesbrough).
For further exhibition information, press images and interview opportunities, please contact:
Antoine Raffoul, email: email@example.com, or P21 Gallery, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel. 020 7121 6190
The exhibition was organised with kind support from: 1948 Lest We Forget, and Hub Collective