• Stateless Heritage
    DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Research)
    Rachael Jarvis
    The Mosaic Rooms, London
    Oct 12, 2021 to Jan 30, 2022
    The Mosaic Rooms

Sandi Hilal and Alessanro Petti, “Permanent Temporariness,” 2018 (installation view, New York Abu Dhabi Gallery). Photo: Luca Capuano

The Mosaic Rooms, London presents the first solo exhibition in the United Kingdom by DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency). New site-specific work builds on the ongoing project Refugee Heritage which explores the implications of nominating the Dheisheh refugee camp in Palestine as a UNESCO World Heritage site and how heritage can be used as a tool for political transformation and raise conversations around the “permanent temporariness” of refugee camps. Stateless Heritage is a new iteration of this project, challenging the dominant western conceptions of heritage by focusing on ideas of collective memory to define what should be conserved and recorded. The exhibition features a live element which is activated by a dynamic program of events hosted by community members, artists, activists, and thinkers. Stateless Heritage introduces new perspectives on notions of restitution, repair, and return, and has resonance at a time when the fundamental right to claim asylum is under threat internationally and in the UK.

DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency) was founded in 2007 by Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti in Beit Sahour, Palestine, with the aim to combine an architectural studio and an art residency that could gather together architects, artists, activists, urbanists, filmmakers and curators to work collectively on the subjects of politics and architecture. DAAR is led by Hilal and Petti, now based in Sweden. DAAR have presented their work at leading international institutions, art galleries and biennials including Documenta, Venice, Istanbul, and Sao Paulo biennials, and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. They have received the Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism at Bard College, the Price Claus Prize for Architecture, and the Foundation for Art Initiatives Grant; and were shortlisted for the Visible Award, the Curry Stone Design Prize, the New School’s Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics, the Anni and Heinrich Sussmann Artist Award, and the Chrnikov Prize.

Sandi Hilal is an architect and researcher. She was the head of the Infrastructure and Camp Improvement Program in the West Bank at UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) from 2008 to 2014.

Alessandro Petti is an architect and researcher in urbanism. He has written on the emerging spatial order dictated by the paradigm of security and control in Archipelagos and Enclaves (Bruno Mondadori, 2007). He is a professor of architecture and social justice at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. Hilal and Petti are coauthors of the book Architecture after Revolution (Sternberg, 2014), an invitation to rethink today’s struggles for justice and equality, not only from the historical perspective of revolution, but also from that of a continued struggle for decolonization.

Rachael Jarvis is director of The Mosaic Rooms and oversees the artistic program. Curatorial and exhibition projects she has been involved in include the new film and installation work by Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour, In The Future They Ate From The Finest Porcelain (2016), Sansour subsequently represented Denmark in the 2019 Venice Biennale; a group show of emerging contemporary women artists from Saudi Arabia, Shift (2017);  What do you mean, here we are?, a retrospective of the renowned Townhouse Gallery in Cairo; a solo exhibition by Praneet Soi, Anamorphosis (2019); a group show of Moroccan female artists, Raw Queens (2019); and New Waves (2019) a retrospective of Mohamed Melehi and the Casablanca Art School. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Angelina Radakovic has been curator at The Mosaic Rooms since 2020. She has curated Homeland Under my Nails by Mohammad Omar Khalil (2020) in collaboration with Abed Al Kadiri and When I see the future, I close my eyes by Heba Y Amin (2020/2021). She holds a bchelor’s in history of art and archaeology from SOAS, University of London, and is undertaking an master’s in postcolonial cultures & global policy at Goldsmiths, University of London. In addition to her work at The Mosaic Rooms, she runs a cultural blog, Native Province, the first platform dedicated to sharing culture from the Philippines and the diaspora.

The Mosaic Rooms, founded in 2008, is the United Kingdom’s leading gallery dedicated to supporting and promoting contemporary visual art and culture from the MENA region and its diaspora. The gallery believes in the importance of creating a space that presents new thinking and daring creativity and to inspire a more informed and engaged understanding of the Arab world including the complex contemporary issues in the region.  The Mosaic Rooms achieves this through the critically acclaimed free exhibitions program, multidisciplinary events including film screenings, performances, talks, symposia, workshops, and the learning and engagement program. The Mosaic Rooms is an initiative of the A. M. Qattan Foundation—a non-party political and non-religious organization that works towards the development of culture and education in Palestine and the Arab world, with a particular focus on children, teachers, and young artists.