Emily Jacir used her 2002 residency at Al Ma’mal to create an artwork inspired by the very personal idea of displacement endured by so many Palestinians. Where We Come From/(Im)mobility is based on the artist’s “freedom of movement” as a Palestinian with an American passport. Jacir utilized her passport to access Palestine for Palestinians who are denied the freedom to go to their own homeland and/or to move freely within it. She sent out a call for requests – what can I do for you that you cannot? With her “golden ticket” (a.k.a. U.S. passport), Jacir moved freely through the country, circumventing barriers and to carry out people’s wishes. In the very act of connecting people to their homeland by fulfilling their requests and wishes, Jacir’s work also calls attention to and documents their disconnection.
Jacir’s desire is to shed light on the absurdity of displacement by highlighting the adversities exiles must contend with over things that most take for granted. In so doing, the artist reassembles the fragments of diaspora. Jacir identifies with the subjects by acting out their wishes (gestures), thus becoming an extension of their will, in a way becoming them. It is in this way that her work reflects on the mobility of exile itself as a shifting form of identification, drifting from geographical displacements to psychic splits to moral contradictions. (Jack Persekian)
Born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1970. Lives and works in Ramallah and New York. Jacir earned MFA from the Memphis College of Art.
Solo exhibitions include the A Space Gallery, Toronto; Galerien Der Stadt Esslingen Am Neckar, Germany; Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland; O-K Center for Contemporary Art, Linz, Austria; and University Gallery, Sewanee Tennessee. She has participated in several group exhibitions including the touring exhibition Veil (produced by the Institute of International Visual Arts); Unjustified, Apex Art, New York; Submerged, Kunstbunker Nuremberg, Germany; Made in Transit, Vacancy Gallery in New York; and Ekbatana, Nikolaj Contemporary Art Center, Copenhagen, Denmark.