Lecturer , Massachusetts Institute of Technology
This dissertation investigates the rise of an interrelated system of art practices and exhibition spaces in early twentieth-century Palestine. This development occurred within a political landscape that included the dissolution of the Ottoman empire, the rise of Zionism, WWI, British military and colonial occupation, and the growth of Arab nationalism prior to the declaration of the state of Israel in 1948. By tracing the emerging frameworks that encouraged the production and display of the visual arts within this milieu, the project demonstrates how local organizations, foreign colonizers, and international relief agencies sought to support Palestine and affect its politics through the ostensibly benign fields of art and culture. While Palestinian art describes a concept largely unspoken prior to 1948, the dissertation studies how early twentieth-century art production in Palestine formulated the distinctive practices and modes of circulation that would mark this later artistic field.