Artist Trapped in West Bank Appears in New Museum Panel via Skype

By Lisha Arino on July 16, 2014 3:11pm | Updated on July 17, 2014 8:50am

LOWER EAST SIDE — An artist used Skype to participate in a New Museum panel discussion after Israeli authorities refused to let him leave the West Bank to catch a flight to New York, according to the museum and reports.

Ramallah-based artist Khaled Jarrar was scheduled to take part in a discussion related to the museum’s new exhibit featuring contemporary Middle Eastern artists, “Here and Elsewhere,” Wednesday night, but was not allowed out of the country, the museum said.

“Unfortunately, there isn’t much to comment about the sad news that Khaled Jarrar was not allowed to leave Ramallah and travel to NY,” said Massimiliano Gioni, the museum’s associate director and director of exhibitions, in a statement.

Jarrar, in a statement he sent to DNAinfo, said the move was unexpected, since he had previously been allowed to travel for exhibitions abroad.

"I was surprised, because never before did the Israelis prevent me from traveling," he said. Jarrar said he was told that he would not be able to leave the county until Aug. 1 for "security reasons." A solo show in the Lower East Side was also pushed back because of the incident, organizers said.

Israel's consulate in New York did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to the museum, Jarrar’s work “documents the physical, political and social barriers erected to restrict the daily movements of Palestinians.”

“His work is so invested in witnessing reality and capturing history as it unravels in front of his eyes, that sadly it is only too appropriate that reality and history would get in the way of his life,” Gioni said, referencing the recent conflict between Israelis and Palestinians that escalated two weeks ago.

At Wednesday night's panel, Natalie Bell, a curatorial associate at the New Museum, spoke with Jarrar, Lebanese artist Lamia Joreige and Charif Kiwan, a spokesman for the anonymous filmmaking collective Abounaddara in Syria, about their work, with Jarrar participating via Skype.

Jarrar’s documentary video piece, "Infiltrators," is one of many featured in “Here and Elsewhere.” The exhibition includes work by 45 Middle Eastern artists from more than 15 countries.

“This exhibition continues the New Museum’s commitment to looking at art from beyond the confines familiar to the New York art world,” Gioni said in a release. “‘Here and Elsewhere’ brings new works and new voices to our audiences, presenting many artists who are showing in New York for the first time.”

The exhibition opened Wednesday and will continue through Sept. 28.

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