A series of curated walks, talks and interventions comprised RIWAQ’s 4th Biennale. Activities were produced and organized with six other cultural organizations in Palestine under the umbrella of Qalandiya International Biennale.
RIWAQ also partnered with al Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art to produce a shared exhibition entitled Gestures in Time, curated by Lara Khaldi and Katya Garcia Anton. The exhibition presented the innovative alliance of heritage, art, and community taking place within and between five rural Palestinian towns. An international exhibition, Gestures in Time showcased the work of 25 Palestinian, regional, and international artists. In their works, the gesture became a form of poetic and performatic unbinding from any sense of history progressing; a force of construction and individual creation.
Biennale events included RIWAQ-guided tours through Jerusalem and Ramallah as well as through the rural landscape of the West Bank. For newcomers to Jerusalem’s Old City, the experience of navigating the religious, political, and ritualistic stages inherent in the city fabric, through the eyes of the exhibition Gestures in Time, revealed the power of the gesture on an individual level. For visitors who joined our tour were exposed to the manifold spatial gestures by crisscrossing the landscape, and circumnavigating the architectural wounds therein (settlements, checkpoints, highways and road signage).
A symposium “Modernity, Architecture and Urban Life in the Arab Region” was also part of RIWAQ’s 2012 Biennale and was the first step towards a long-term endeavor aimed at constructing a regional platform that would convene scholars and practitioners from various fields investigating the notion of modernity in the past, present, and future of cities in the Middle East. The symposium’s central question was: how does modern architecture represent such differences and discrepancies in the context of the Arab city?
Alongside the symposium a photo exhibition entitled City of Mirages: Baghdad, 1952-1982 was on display. The exhibition was curated by Pedro Azara in partnership with Collegi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya.