Artists News USA

Middle Eastern artists bring their stories to Brooklyn

Taysir Batniji and art collective Foundland take part in Edge of Arabia’s first residency programme organised in the US

Foundland installation at "Enacting Populism", Kadist Foundation, 2012, Paris. Photo: Aurélien Mole

The Palestinian artist Taysir Batniji and the Cairo-based art collective Foundland are moving to Brooklyn this summer as part of the non-profit Edge of Arabia’s first US residency programme. The London-based organisation has historically focused on exhibiting Middle Eastern artists in Europe, but “we always wanted to do something in America,” says its director Stephen Stapleton, “because the narratives of the Middle East and the US are two of the most powerful stories of our time.”

Co-organised with the Brooklyn-based International Studio and Curatorial Program and funded by the family foundation Art Jameel, the artists—none of whom have visited the US before—will receive a £1,000 monthly stipend, plus accommodations and expenses. For his part, Batniji is considering a video, photo series or public intervention that will “highlight the ability of words to generate images, create illusions or displacement of sense”. Foundland, meanwhile, will research the historic lower Manhattan neighborhood formerly nicknamed “Little Syria”.

“In the current global political climate, we hope this residency will be an opportunity to open channels of dialogue and exchange based on mutual respect and understanding between East and West,” said Batniji.

The residency will culminate in an exhibition of the artists’ work in New York sometime early next year. But Stapleton stressed that this is not the group’s main priority. “It's one thing to bring art exhibitions, but the residency creates friendships and allows people to share stories on a personal level,” he says, “that is more powerful than presenting things formally.”

Correction, Updated 19 May: The comment on the global political climate was misattributed in the original post.


Taysir Batniji, Man does not live on bread alone #2, 2012-2013. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Edge of Arabia
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Comments

16 May 14
13:54 CET

TAYSIR BATNIJI, PARIS

“In the current global political climate, we hope this residency will be an opportunity to open channels of dialogue and exchange based on mutual respect and understanding between East and West,” I am sorry, but I said that and not the Foundland members. Finally it is not so important and I think we share the same aims, but I think precision is important.

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