(Re)constructing Utopia: Remembering and Forgetting in Palestinian and Israeli Art

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The union of art and politics has endured down the centuries, gazing to the past, through memory, and to the future, through desire. The memory of what was or could have been provides a utopia to be celebrated or mourned, and since 1948 Palestinian and Israeli art has reflected on loss and gain, sacrifice and security, and presence and absence in the land. Contemporary Palestinian and Israeli art has converged seeking peace, critical reflection and an acknowledgement of the impact sixty-six years of unrest has borne on both sides, while technology has afforded a means to trace heterotopias in the spaces between possession and dispossession. Drawing on Luisa Passerini, Michel Foucault and Maurice Halbwachs, this article maps the land, utopia and heterotopias in Israeli and Palestinian artistic practices and explores the performativity of silence, loss and remembrance through the works of Sliman Mansour, Reuven Rubin, Tamam al-Akhal and Yael Bartana.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-194
Number of pages11
JournalThird Text
Issue number3
Early online date25 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

This work was supported under the European Institutes for Advanced Study (EURIAS) Fellowship Programme (2014/15), conducted at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study.


  • memory
  • identity
  • trauma
  • culture
  • art
  • conflict
  • Palestine
  • Israel
  • Middle East


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