Palestinian Artist Khaled Jarrar Offers Ramallah Soil as NFT
Jarrar created the project to protest Israel's confiscation of Palestinian-owned land.
Khaled Jarrar, If I don't steal your home someone else will steal it (2021) still. Digital animation, soil. Courtesy the artist and SPSK.
Artist Khaled Jarrar is selling soil from Ramallah to protest Israel's creeping annexation of Palestinian land.
'I'm trying to preserve the memory of this land before we are not allowed in again,' he said.
The work was created in collaboration with Strc prst skrz krk (SPSK), a collective that uses the blockchain to support political art. SPSK was formed in February by art critic and curator Dorian Batycka, Becky Haghpanah-Shirwan, director of a/political, and Aleksandra Artamonovskaja, founder of Electric Artefacts.
'I used an NFT because it is the latest trend and I believe it will help bring awareness to the issues we Palestinians are facing now through art,' Jarrar said.
The work's title, If I don't steal your home someone else will steal it, is a phrase an Israeli settler used to justify forced evictions of Palestinians in East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrar neighbourhood. Video of the incident was shared by Al Jazeera on 6 May, the same day fighting between Israel and Palestinians broke out.
At least 230 Palestinians were killed in Gaza and 12 people were killed in Israel in the two weeks before a ceasefire was agreed this morning.
'I'm in the city of Ramallah, surrounded by Israeli checkpoints, settlements, Jewish-only roads, and settlers running in the streets shouting "death to Arabs",' Jarrar said over email on 19 May. 'I'm afraid to take my kids to visit my family who are living in Jenin.'
Art institutions in the region have been impacted by the fighting, as reported by ARTnews.
The Tel Aviv Museum of Art told Artnet News that it moved works into its basement to protect them from damage by rockets.
Members of the Art World Rally to Support Palestinians
Jordan-born, Beirut-based artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan, one of four winners of the 2019 Turner Prize, has been sharing footage from Palestine on his Instagram account, including video by Palestinian artist Inas Halabi that shows crowd control measures being used on Palestinians.
Attempts to raise awareness on social media about the forced evictions and violence against Palestinians were, however, undermined by the platforms themselves. Thousands of posts have been removed from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok according to the Columbia Journalism Review.
Several artist-backed initiatives are nevertheless attempting to bring attention to the plight of Palestinians and raise funds on their behalf.
Films by Palestinian women are being hosted on the website Another Screen for the next month to raise funds for medical, legal and infrastructure aid, and to support filmmaking and cultural centres in the Palestinian territories. They include videos by Jumana Manna, Basma Alsharif, Rosalind Nashashibi, Razan AlSalah, and Larissa Sansour. Additional videos are being added by Emily Jacir, Mona Benyamin, Pary El-Qalqili, Layaly Badr, and others.
Critical platform Mizna has also made Sansour's sci-fi films available to view as part of a pay-what-you-can fundraiser for Gaza.
Artists Nabil Harb, Amanny Ahmad, Alicia Mersy, Two Lizards, and Farah Al Qasimi also launched a print sale on Instagram with proceeds going to Medical Aid for Palestinians and Build Palestine, a crowdfunding platform for Palestinian communities. —[O]