english العربية עברית

The Mediterranean Biennale

Israel’s  socio-political reality causes her to be detached from neighboring countries, while linking her to distant centers in Europe and the US.  Partly because of different historical processes, Israel has always considered herself closer in a cultural sense to the West, and to leading cultural centers, such as Paris, London and New York.  Throughout the 20th century, those cultural centers expanded and created a system of control that perpetuated their status, and represented their concept of cultural hegemony.  Israel tried for many years to become a part of this system and enhance its place within its hierarchical structure.  Adoption of the concepts of the powerful Western art centers prevented the possibility of noticing any art work in our area in neighboring countries with a similar climate and comparable cultural characteristics.  In this context the Mediterranean Biennale of contemporary art was initiated by Belu-Simion Fainaru and Avital Bar-Shay. The first Mediterranean Biennale was held in 2010 in the city of Haifa and the second Mediterranean Biennale will be held in the city of Sakhnin in the Galilee in north of Israel.

The Second Mediterranean Biennale, in Sakhnin, is an attempt to create a cultural outlook in a Mediterranean context via regional cooperation by exhibiting  works of art that express and enhance this theme. The Second Mediterranean Biennale will be offer an alternative platform laying emphasis on the local processes occurring in the area and their cultural influences. The Biennale will be an international art event also involving Israeli artists, both Jewish and Arab, including international artists. The place of the woman as a creative individual will also be given special emphasis.
This is the first time that an international biennale of contemporary art will be held in an Arab city in Israel. Holding such an international art event of this kind will engender a place for coexistence and dialogue by means of artistic endeavor. Art in this case acquires an important social standing by creating conditions for rapprochement, learning to recognize and showing respect for the difference of the other. Holding the event in the city of Sakhnin will further the possibility of getting to know Arab culture better by observing life in the city and making direct contact with its inhabitants.

As a direct extension and elaboration of educational and cultural activities that the Mediterratean Biennale set for itself we will establish a center includes a contemporary art gallery, an 'artist residence' program in which artist from neighbor countries will be hosted for short period of time and will create art in the place, and a place of studying, researching and documenting the local visual Mediterranean culture. The Mediterranean Biennale  provides opportunities for meeting and exchanging opinions, and forming bonds leading to future activities. The center is a sort of laboratory where the various ideas and suggestions expressed can be examined and put into practice. The purpose of The Mediterranean Biennale  is to create a new contact system, through which artists from the nearby areas can cooperate, initiate activities and exchange views, unencumbered by the fixed patterns of the established systems.