2 March, 2015: Luisa Gandolfo (University of Aberdeen)
Title: Resistance, Liberation and... Reconciliation? The Role of Art in Palestinian-Israeli Peace Activism.
15:30-17:00h, Room 5.A41, Pieter de la Court building.
Dr. Luisa Gandolfo is Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Aberdeen, where her research focuses on post-war reconciliation, identity and socio-cultural practices in the Middle East and North Africa, with particular foci on Palestine-Israel and Tunisia.
In her current capacity as a EURIAS-NIAS Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, her work focuses on the juxtaposition of artistic practices and cultural memory in Palestine-Israel, and the intersection of death, loss, trauma and postmemory.
Luisa’s previous research explored the representation of conflict in Palestinian art; building on this article her current research looks at artwork from the Mandate period through the events of 1948 to the present day.
Both Palestinian and Israeli art have utilised religious and pastoral motifs that represented the homeland, old and new. After 1948, the two schools reflected on memory, conflict and the land, polemically touching upon loss and gain, sacrifice and security. More recently, Palestinian and Israeli art has converged seeking critical reflection and an acknowledgement of the impact 65 years of unrest has borne on both sides. Amidst the unrest identity is redefined: collective memories renegotiated, historical narratives challenged, and temporal and physical space is subject to heterotopias and heterochronies.
Luisa is currently writing a book that explores the multiple mediums through which memory, post-memory and trauma are expressed through formal and informal art forms, performance and memorialisation.
In her talk, Luisa will focus on the performance mechanisms practiced in Palestine-Israel that address post-memory narratives and traumatic experiences, including Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, Playback Theatre and cultural resistance. Drawing on fieldwork conducted last December with the Jenin Freedom Theatre and Combatants for Peace, the role of acknowledgement and the multiple forms of occupation will be explored, before the ultimate question of how far culture can facilitate reconciliation in the region?