Precarious existence of Palestinians symbolised by ‘floating village’ in Manchester art exhibition

A floating ‘village’ of boxes will be just one of two major art installations depicting those affected by the Gaza conflict in Manchester this weekend.

Professor Bashir Makhoul’s The Genie features a village made from bullet strewn cardboard boxes suspended 30metres above the ground.

These draw on the fictional master-servant relationship of Aladdin and depicts Palestinian refugees ‘living life on the move’, and represents the precarious existence of Palestinians forced out of their homes by the Gaza conflict.

Speaking ahead of the official opening at the Asia Triennial Manchester 2014 (ATM14), Professor Makhoul said: “This is a village precariously unfixed, no longer rooted to the earth, frozen in mid-float, and reminiscent of temporary encampments, displaced dwellings, and occupied territories.

“The shaky foundation evokes a host of other unstable foundations and edifices; regimes built on oppressive power, myths of nationhood and nativity, legitimations of control and occupation based on the magically combustive power of temporally-fixed yet imagined as infinite.

“Its cheapness relates to the value ascribed to those who would dwell there while also offering the possibility for recycling and reconstituting.”

Elsewhere in the city, Professor Makhoul exhibits alongside U2 producer and artist Brian Eno with his work, House of Cards, featuring thick tapestries blown apart by gunfire.

Part of The Manchester Contemporary 2014 at the Old Granada Studios, House of Cards also sees Professor Makhoul make a return to painting after 18 years, vividly depicting his own cardboard city installation at the 55th Venice Biennale exhibition in 2013.

Also taking place in the Asia Triennial Manchester will be Harmonious Society an exhibition curated by Birmingham City University’s Professor Jiehong (Joshua) Jiang.

The contemporary Chinese art exhibition promises to be the most significant in the UK to date and will be shedding light on China’s current socio-economic vision.

The ATM14 runs from September 27 to November 23. For more information, click here.

Image courtesy of Silvio Arcangeli, with thanks

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