How Green Was My Valley

Nadia Al-Issa in ArtAsiaPacific:

Cow-2-450x281“How Green Was My Valley” was a poetic meditation on the backbreaking labor, bittersweet sacrifice and precious pleasures entailed in the Palestinian people’s love for their homeland and struggle for its liberation. Featuring photography, painting, sculpture, video and installation art by 15 emerging and established Palestinian artists, the exhibition at Whitebox Art Center, New York, foregrounded the potential for absurd humor and daring dreams rooted in the cruel and oppressive landscape of occupation, and stood as a testament to the stubborn refusal of Palestinians to let go of hope.

Rendering activism as labor, and labor as activism, Amer Shomali’s Pixelated Intifada (2012) is an animated, black-and-white 3D model of a cow that pays tribute to an act of resistance from the not-so-distant but increasingly elusive era of the late 1980s, and represents a labor movement undertaken to create a Palestinian economy autonomous from the Israeli military occupation. In 1987, a number of residents in Beit Sahour, a Palestinian town east of Bethlehem, set up a dairy farm to supplant the monopoly of the Israeli co-op Tnuva. The Beit Sahour farm was soon raided and shut down by the Israeli army, and the Palestinian activists involved were incarcerated. In retaliation, the activists hid the raided farm’s livestock in the surrounding countryside, spurring a four-year-long hunt by the Israeli army for the cows, which evolved into a symbol of sovereignty for Palestinians. Shomali’s pixelated cow revolves on the video screen, as if suspended in midair.

More here.