Gil & Moti, 'Nakba means a lot to me', Finan Ghazal and Nivien Ragab, 2021


15/05/2022 — 24/07/2022
Story house Belvedère

Research and exhibition by Gil & Moti: 'Nakba means a lot to me'

The exhibition Nakba means a lot to me is the result of a research project by artist duo Gil & Moti. They investigated the public importance of a permanent location for the annual Palestinian Nakba commemoration in Rotterdam. Nakba in Arabic means 'catastrophe' and refers to the flight of more than 700.000 Palestinians during the Arab-Israeli war and the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, which was accompanied by the – until now ongoing – expulsion of Palestinian citizens from their homes. territory. Every year on May 15, Palestinians from the Rotterdam region and sympathizers of 'the Palestinian question' gather at various locations in the city to commemorate the Nakba. Until now, there is no fixed location for these meetings.


The exhibition is from May 15 to July 24 on display in Verhalenhuis Belvédère† The opening will take place on Sunday 15 May at 14.30 pm with Palestinian dishes, video presentations and a tour of the exhibition with Gil & Moti. Also during the Museum night op Saturday 18 June the artists are present.

In the exhibition, the penetrating video work ...After that no more Palestine on display, alongside paintings and drawings collected by Finan Ghazal. We also get acquainted with the cooking of her daughter Nivien Ragab, the sculptures of Jamal Al Shaabi and the 'comic stories' of his son Mahmoud. Furthermore, loans of Palestinian memorabilia from various (Palestinian) living rooms in the Rotterdam region are on display, which serve both as a personal 'physical memory', while also making Palestinian culture and identity accessible.

Access free, no reservation necessary
Story house Belvédère, Rechthuislaan 1, Rotterdam

commemorative meeting

Prior to the opening you will find on Sunday 15 May at 12.30 pm in the Kralingen Botanical Garden a Nakba memorial meeting, guided by Yousef Hashem.       

Gil & Moti, '…No more Palestine after that', 2022, Ultra HD video, 25 min.

About the research

At the initiative of the working group Nakbah the Disaster Gil & Moti conducted research into the local support for this event, the transfer of knowledge about the Nakba and the way in which such a commemoration could take place. They also mapped and mapped potential locations.
In the past two years, Gil & Moti visited several individuals and families from the Palestinian community in the Rotterdam Region, where they extensively interviewed, filmed and explored different textual and visual forms of concepts such as home, flight, memory, trauma, identity, family roots and connectedness. Together with them, the artists went back in time with the help of family albums and documents, collected objects and works of art made by themselves.
For this art project, the artists made use of 'oral history'. This is a research method based on oral tradition that is often used among oppressed peoples. Oral History brings up parts of the past that have been repressed, overlooked, or deliberately left off the books in collective memory or mainstream historiography. Similarly, the Nakba story is traditionally passed on orally from the older generation to the younger, to supplement the missing information.

About Gil & Moti

Their upbringing in Israel, a country at war, is reflected in their artistic positioning and vision, which is reflected in various art projects. For the project The Dutch Volunteers (2014-2016) they took a radical decision: they gave up their Israeli nationality to become Dutch citizens. As Dutch citizens, the opportunity arose to gain access to areas that are legally prohibited for Israeli citizens; places behind the checkpoints and concrete walls, which imprison the Palestinian residents of the West Bank in a cage. The experiences they gained there resulted in spatial installations with video, photography, sculptures and paintings, in which a physical as well as symbolic separation was made between two worlds.

This research project was partly realized with a contribution from BKOR, the Visual Arts & Public Space program of CBK Rotterdam.