Nisa Ari F'18

Nisa  Ari
Art History
University of Houston

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2018
Doctoral Candidate
History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Parity and Disparity: Cultural Politics and the Formation of Palestinian Art

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.