Last Friday, Pablo Picasso’s Buste de Femme, (1943), was put on display at the International Art Academy Palestine in Ramallah. Marking the very first time that the Picasso’s work has been shown in Palestine and as the result of a loan request to the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, this project is the tenacious vision of artist Khaled Hourani (also the Artistic Director of IAAP). Bringing it to fruition has involved nearly two years of complex legal negotiations, as well as a precarious journey through the Israeli border into occupied Palestinian territory.
Although Charles Esche, director of the Van Abbemuseum (and Afterall co-founder) has described the feat as 'after all, only strictly concerned with the shipment of a small amount of wood, canvas and paint from one country to another',1 his article on the museum’s Kitchen blog describes how the simple decision to exhibit the work in Ramallah elicited political and juridical questions, eventually necessitating the construction of a special climatically controlled viewing room-within-a-room in which only three visitors are allowed at a time.
Picasso’s Buste de Femme will be on display at the Internation Academie of Art in Ramallah until 20 July 2011; a sister exhibition at the Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art in Jerusalem documents the process of bringing the work from its home in Eindhoven to its Palestinian setting.
Charles Esche, 'Picasso in Palestine' on de Keuken, the Van Abbemuseum's topical blog. http://thekitchen.vanabbe.nl/2011/06/27/picasso-in-palestine/ (last accessed June 27 2011)↑