Mørket må vike (the darkness must give way)
Art students from Nablus, Palestine
Kunstpalasset (Stavanger kunstforening)
There has for many years been a connection between Stavanger and Nablus on the West Bank of Palestine. But this is the first time there is an exchange of visual artists. 7 art students and 2 of their teachers visited Stavanger for 10 days. In addition to visiting artists and galleries, they also made a large artwork on the walls of two exhibition rooms of Stavanger kunstforening. The project is a collaboration between the Nablus Association, Stavanger kunstforening, Bryne kunstforening and An-Najah University.
The exhibition consists of two rooms. The first room is dark and depressive, representing the present situation in Palestine. The second room is the desired situation of peace, beauty and prosperity. All is painted directly onto the walls.
The "present" room is coarse and dark, with black paint slashed on to most of the walls. The thin stripe of light is scattered with barbed wire and tortured figures. I get a strong impression that the artists wanted to get away from this room as soon as possible, just like the viewers. The "future" room has warm, friendly colors, beautiful and detailed adornments and figures. It is far more pleasant exploring the walls in this room.
The art is a collaboration work, this includes both possibilities and limitations. The theme is strongly political, critizising the present situation of occupation and isolation. The theme is not a surprising one, maybe this was planned even before arriving in Stavanger? Would the artwork look the same even without their stay in Stavanger?
I was curious about how the stay in Stavanger, how the cultural differences and impressions would affect the work. But I do not see it in this exhibition. Maybe it is too soon, probably the effect will become visible later. This is why it is important to have further exchanges like this in future. I am also hoping to see more individual expressions in the next exhibitions.