PALESTINIAN VIDEO ART

‘Soup Over Bethlehem’ (2006) by Larissa Sansour, depicts an ordinary Palestinian family, Sansour’s own, around a dinner table on a rooftop overlooking the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

In this entrancing 9 minute (save it for the weekend) video on the Saatchi site, what starts as a culinary discussion about the national dish mloukhieh being served from a soup bowl soon evolves into a personal and engaging conversation about politics.

Larissa Sansour Soup over Bethlehem

Larissa Sansour Soup over Bethlehem

The handheld cameras and the intimate sounds of cutlery against china  help the viewer gain an alternative more direct experience of Palestinian issues slicing right through the Palestine blindness induced by the usual slick but tired TV footage.

The Arabic spoken around the dinner table is interrupted by English, and family members hold a variety of international passports, jobs and academic degrees. The diasporic traits present in every Palestinian family history lend a global quality  to life even under the restraints of occupation.

In turn, the mloukhieh in the soup bowl represents the shared national heritage and the meal itself becomes a gastronomic anchoring of a Palestinian identity in eternal flux.

About Larissa Sansour

Larissa Sansour was born in 1973 in Jerusalem, studied Fine Art in Copenhagen, London and New York, and earned her MA from New York University.

Sansour’s work has been exhibited worldwide in galleries, museums and film festivals, including Tate Modern, London and the Arken Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. Her work was shown in last year’s Third Guangzhou Triennial in China, the Contemporary Art Biennale in Nîmes, France and the Busan Biennale in South Korea. Her latest film “A Space Exodus” was nominated for the Muhr Awards for short film at the Dubai International Film Festival. Her work will feature in the 11th International Istanbul Biennial in September 2009.

‘Soup Over Bethlehem (Mloukhieh)’, 2006 on Saatchi TV
Video, 9 minutes 30 seconds

Related categories: video art, Middle Eastern art, political art

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Brittney

By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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