Qalandiya International (QI) is a biennial event that takes place across Palestinian cities, towns, and villages. It focuses on exhibiting contemporary Palestinian and international art, highlighting valuable architectural sites, and includes talks, walks and performances.
QI, in its first take, is a collaboration between A. M. Qattan Foundation, the House of Culture and Art, International Art Academy- Palestine, Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center, Al-Ma'mal Foundation, Palestinian Art Gallery- Al Hoash, and Riwaq in an attempt to pool resources and work collectively towards showcasing and promoting contemporary culture in Palestine, locally and internationally. It is an attempt to engage the local public in programs that are not straitjacketed by realpolitik, and to allow them to look at art in a more imaginative and open manner. It is an attempt to join forces and resources and form links across a fragmented geography; a take on unity.
The QI program encompasses a diversity of newly commissioned projects and presentations as various as the institutions involved, it is inclusive rather than exclusive, interdisciplinary, and open allowing engagement, and even implication.
For the past decade, “Qalandiya” has been associated with the infamous Israeli checkpoint that continues to suffocate the West Bank disconnecting it from Jerusalem and the rest of the world. This checkpoint has been highly pervasive in the media and in the visual and literary works produced in and about Palestine. Countless stories about Palestinians’ daily suffering and subjugation take place there, offering sad but true glimpses of the oppressive regime of the occupation. However, “Qalandiya” suggests other connotations that have been deliberately smeared or totally erased over the years, but which, with a more intimate look, could be uncovered: the Qalandiya Airport, for example (or the Jerusalem International Airport as it was initially called), the Qalandiya refugee camp, and Qalandiya village (which the Wall has divided into two separate parts). Qalandiya is where many paradoxes meet. It was the point of connection with the rest of the world until 1967 and became today the symbol of disconnection, isolation, segregation and fragmentation in 2000.
Qalandiya International will utilize the name and its multilayered and contradictory meanings in an event that seeks to perpetuate the true Palestine brand on the international cultural scene, while allowing a taste of the experience embedded in the symbolic paradox of Qalandiya.