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Levantine Cultural Center, Los Angeles, May 8-June 22, 2014


* Amazing and profound. Great works and terrific idea. “Parallel Paths” displays and exposes not just the history of Palestinians, Native Americans & Irish, but also the history of human suffering & conditioning, from displacement to abandonment (?) to oppression. This exhibit is an opportunity for all & everyone to open their eyes to the horrors in our history & open theirs hearts & minds to bring those to an end.


* A beautiful, profound, enlightening and moving exhibition. The links are delicately yet clearly drawn. The texts are (?) research and written and the artworks are richly varied and (?). I smiled much more than I expected to! I am Irish-American, so I was especially struck by Irish History Lesson 1 & 2, which evoke some of what “Irishness” feels like to me. “Flying Lesson #7 is sheer, surprising joy. An amazing exhibition.

—Signature unreadable

* As someone interested in history, seeing a real Palestinian passport issued by the British was amazing and of course sad. I wish I knew what happened to the owner of the passport and their families.

–Arielle Ziarty


The Map is not the territory in Los Angeles

Dear all,

Please join us to “The Map is not the Territory”, a nomadic group exhibition curated by Jennifer Heath and Dagmar Painter now passing through L.A.

Many artists, including my self, are participating to this poignant investigation of the experience and concept of territory. For more info please see details below. Do pop by if you can and spread the word to the world.

Thank you




Parallel Paths: Palestinians, Native Americans, Irish

May 8, 2014 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Free to the public, contributions welcome
Inside/Outside Gallery
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
street parking

“The map is not the territory,” a phrase coined by Alfred Korzybski, is the lesser-known counterpart to Magritte’s charming “This is not a pipe.” Unlike “This is not a pipe”–an image that has been rendered safe by multiple reproductions and parodies, by now of little relevance unless you are an Art History major–the phrase “the map is not the territory” is charged with political and cultural meaning of the most subversive sort. This meaning inspires the upcoming exhibit at the Inside/Outside Gallery, conceived by by Jennifer Heath and co-curated by Heath and Dagmar Painter.


One land, divided by walls and nomenclature like “annexed,” “territory,” “Manifest Destiny,” until it is in bloody fragments. One people, divided by one thing, and then another, until they can barely recognize their own kin. Like blown dandelion seeds, people venturing out from their homeland, only to find themselves always looking backwards, and wondering how to retrace their steps. Such are the images and anxieties at the heart of The Map is Not the Territory: Parallel Paths: Palestinians, Native Americans, Irish.


In 66 works by 39 artists, The Map Is Not the Territory looks at relationships and commonalities in Palestinian, Native American, and Irish experiences of invasion, occupation, and colonization–not as novelty or polemic, but as history and current events. Although many peoples worldwide have suffered long and often brutal intrusions, Palestinians, Native Americans and the Irish have intersected for centuries in specific and often unusual ways. What are some of these intersections and how do contemporary artists examine and process them through their own lives and visions? The Map Is Not the Territory opened in 2013 at The Jerusalem Fund Gallery Al-Quds in Washington, D.C.–the first stop for this five-year traveling art exhibition, 2013-2018. See a Washington Post review of the show.


These artists explore the profound specific and unusual intersections between the three cultures with original paintings, photographs, prints, drawings, artist books, and films. They consider such topics as conflict, resistance, land, food, diaspora, identity, and persistence. The show is comprised of sixty-four unframed works on paper (and two media pieces). Most of the artists are Palestinian, Native American, and Irish and include leading artists with international reputations, such as Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Hani Zurob and Rita Duffy. Eight brief wall texts provide the threads to each culture’s struggles for human and civil rights.


By Phoebe Farris

The exhibit, THE MAP IS NOT THE TERRITORY–PARALLEL PATHS :  PALESTINIANS, NATIVE AMERICANS, IRISH, curated by Jennifer Heath and Dagmar Painter, is touring nationally and internationally in 2013-2018. This review primarily focuses on the Native American contributors to the traveling exhibition and highlights the engagement of Native American artists with socio-political issues, and how Native American aesthetics and social concerns relate to those of Irish and Palestinian heritage as expressed in this exhibit. A feature of this exhibition are the interconnections of being both a visual artist and an activist. It is not unusual for the non-Indigenous public to be informed about the vast array of American Indian arts and crafts, especially those that fall within traditional, tribal heritages. However, few viewers are aware of our contributions as professors, museum curators, and writers and the impact that this intellectual heritage has had on our development as visual artists/activists. Launched in Washington, DC in 2013 at The Jerusalem Fund Gallery, traveling to San Francisco and other US cities and later going abroad to Dublin, Ireland and other countries, the show will show a broad global audience how visual art can provide aesthetic pleasure while simultaneously confronting social justice issues impacting Indigenous Peoples in North and Central America, Middle Eastern and North African populations, and the Irish.

These artists have diverse perspectives on the connections between visual art and social justice activism. Focusing on 21st century art practices, their interests include; using video and other new technologies to bridge crucial differences across cultures; resistance, the struggle for sovereignty, and the right to perform traditional cultural practices; the evolution of Indigenous art; the exploration of the concept of globalism and its’ negative and positive effects on Indigenous peoples, native identity, and art in the so-called pre-modern, modern, post-modern, post-colonial and post-racial worlds.

Native American Imagery in Parallel Paths

Exhibition artists who focus on Native American issues are represented on the various walls titles, Territory/Map, Occupation/Wall, Conflict/Resistance, Land/Food, Overlay/Identity, Words/Persistence, and Home/Diaspora. Norman Akers (Osage), Neal Ambrose-Smith (Salish), Scott Benesiinaabandan (Anishnabe), Wahssontiio Cross (Mohawk), Michael Elizondo Jr. (Southern Cheyenne/Chumash), Melanie Yazzie (Navajo), Nadema Agard (Cherokee/Lakota/Powhatan), Jaune Quick-to- See Smith (Salish), Malaquias Montoya (Chicano), and Phoebe Farris (Powhatan-Renape/Pamunkey) have Indigenous  Canadian, United States, and Mexican heritages.

Melanie Yazzie, a Dine’ printmaker chose to collaborate with a Lebanese friend and honor Middle Eastern and Native American homelands and culture in her piece, Seeing Each Other. Each woman selected objects that are important to them and Yazzie combined those images, creating dual portraits of them facing each other and surrounded by their respective cultural artifacts. Each portrait is enclosed in a floating rectangle with similar shades of red, pale green, and brown tones. Both women have dark hair and features and look more alike than different. A common sepia toned background with plant vegetation unites the two rectangles, symbolizing a shared concern for the land.

Scott Benesiinaabandan’s digital prints, Flags of Our Fathers, Solidarity Flag Derry, A Small Note from the North of Ireland, Anishanabe Proclamation, and God Save the Queen, references his artist residencies and international collaborations in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. Based in Canada, this Anishanabe mixed media artist creates works that focus on global Indigenous struggles. His flag photos include flags that are not recognized by nation states, flags hung at half mast, flags being burned, and “non-recognized” flags being draped over government monuments by a protester. Canada’s First Nations peoples have much in common with the Irish due to a shared history of United Kingdom’s colonialism.

Malaquias Montoya’s ink-jet print titled Undocumented is a harsh reminder of the walls and fences created by nation states to block Indigenous peoples from entering lands that they historically inhabited. A clothed figure is trapped on a barbed wire fence with blood oozing from the body and the word Undocumented painted across the figure in red ink. Of Chicano heritage, viewers may assume that Montoya’s figure is trying to enter the United States from Mexico and join the ranks of people who are classified as illegal “aliens”. This figure could very well represent the mestizo migrants who are attempting to re-enter land that once belonged to their ancestors before Spanish and English occupation. Lands now called New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and California. But as Montoya points out, he creates images of the disenfranchised “from Angola, to Central America, from Palestine to the barrio”.

Nadema Agard’s watercolor/pastel/mixed media, Tatanka Ska Oyate/White Buffalo Nation is dedicated to the White Buffalo Calf Maiden who brought the Sacred Pipe to the Lakota Nation. The work is about a “relational concept of nationhood that is not defined by maps but is the territory of the heart, spirit, mind, and body of the Oyate or The People.” Agard’s ribbon tied par fleche is decorated with seven white buffalo (tatanka) who are moving through a reddish landscape that is located above a gold and white colored buffalo skull.

Crowded, Norman Aker’s digital print is based on his reflections of current events about immigration laws, national borders, and boundaries. His print is concerned with defining and/or finding an Indigenous space within the crowded US landscape. An American Indian man outlined in red and black, wearing Plains clothing and headdress beats on a drum while looking upward. Black and gray birds are flying across the landscape. The background is a partial map of North and South America. Cities such as Philadelphia, Atlantic City, New Haven, Chicago, Brasilia, Regina, and Calgary, just to mention a few are printed in small font. The lone Indian man is crowded and pushed to the edge of the space.

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s pigment print, House and Home, is colored mainly in blue hues that wash across the surface in broad strokes. The central image is a tipi with a European styled chair in the middle –a furniture item which may surprise some viewers. The background has several placemats with formal settings of silver ware and dinner plates. In Quick-to-See Smith’s artist statement she explains that some Native Americans still live in portable tipis, especially in the summer. She enlightens us about how members of her Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation of Montana live in tipis while participating in Medicine Lodge ceremonies. The strength and durability of tipi architecture enables inhabitants to be comfortable in thunder storms and in hot summer heat. The juxtaposition of formal place settings, an erect hard back chair, and a tipi educate observers about the continuity of traditional Native American style homes and their adaptations in the 21st century.

Neal Ambrose-Smith’s digital print monotypes, Weight of the Discussion; Baby Bird Brain; Stealing a Ride on the White Man’s Bus; and Going Where No Man Has Gone Before, use humor to visually portray Coyote stories about ethical behavior, his Salish tribe’s millennia –old petroglyphs, Native American participation in modernity, and Ambrose-Smith’s desire to see Native American characters in science-fiction literature. Visual cues in Stealing a Ride on the White Man’s Bus such as the well known Catlin figure of an Indian man dressed in a 19th century top hat and tails and the 20th century ad of a bus driver in uniform with the common safety rule “buckle up” are familiar to many of us, but not usually in the same painting. And the phrase “Going Where No Man Has Gone Before” usually implies outer-space exploration in science-fiction modes of travel. But for Ambrose-Smith his Roadrunner figure traverses outer space in a canoe.

Native American artists have survived colonialism, servitude, racial discrimination, and rapid technological changes. Native artists/activists continually develop and revise the multiple meanings of our art and our heritages to suit our own concepts of American Indian/Native American/First Nations/Indigenous peoples. We undertake the evolution of these cultural concepts with the support and guidance of our elder, spiritual advisors, tribal leaders, and community members. We realize the necessity of our art to be responsive to today’s life circumstances. The participating Native American  artists, their Palestinian and Irish peers, and the curators, women and men from different tribal, racial, and ethnic backgrounds, came together to honor their respective original homelands despite current occupations, to give voice to those who are silenced, to acknowledge their people’s existence despite attempts of physical and cultural genocide, and to celebrate the diversity of 21st century Native American, Palestinian, and Irish art and culture.

— Phoebe Farris, Ph.D. (Powhatan-Renape) is contributing arts editor for the Cultural Survival Quarterly. She is a professor emerita of Purdue University and the vice president for membership of the Washington D.C. branch of American Association of University Women.

– See more at:



THE MAP IS NOT THE TERRITORY show continues and is getting amazing reviews!

Checking it out:


THE WASHINGTON POST – 05 October 2013 The Map is Not the Territory A complex look at tangled situations, “The Map is Not the Territory” expands beyond the Jerusalem Fund Gallery Al-Quds’s usual focus on Palestinian issues to include Ireland’s historic divisions and the United States’ and Canada’s treatment of their indigenous population. Made by 39 artists and mostly on paper, the nearly 70 pieces are grouped into such subcategories as “Occupation/Wall” and “Home/Diaspora.” Their approach ranges from symbolic to specific and from playful to polemical. ome artworks combine elements from the three rather different conflicts. Mona El-Bayoumi’s “Lucky Can’t Find a Piece of Land to Sit and Eat His Falafel Peacefully” collages stereotypical images from commercial food packaging, including Lucky Charms’ leprechaun and Land O’Lakes butter’s Indian maid. Fatin Al-Tamimi and Lisa-Marie Johnson photographed Palestinian-flag-waving marchers on Dublin’s once-contested streets. Helen Zughaib’s “Woven in Exile” shows a veiled woman in front of a colorful Navajo quilt. Rawan Arar’s shot of a West Bank camp shows a spray-painted welcome, “You Are Now Entering Free Dheisheh,” inspired by an oft-photographed sign in Derry, Northern Ireland. Among the motifs are maps, walls and passports. Rajie Cook’s “Epitaph for a Roadmap” depicts an unfolded blank sheet, lacking any path to the future, while Manal Deeb adds symbolic images to her grandfather’s actual Palestinian passport. Malaquias Montoya’s “Undocumented” depicts a faceless person snared on barbed wire, and John Halaka’s “Forgotten Survivors” superimposes an old map — with Jerusalem designated in Arabic as “Al Quds” — atop photos of refugees. There is, inevitably, an abundance of text. The simplest example is Zughaib’s “Beit/Salaam,” whose spiraling calligraphy repeats the words for “home” and “peace.” It’s a gentle mantra for a show that’s more often bristling. territory-reminiscences-and-current-musings/2013/10/03/8bc180fc-29f9-11e3-b141- 298f46539716_story.html

Washington_Report_on_Middle_East_Affairs_OctNov_2013-1 Washington_Report_on_Middle_East_Affairs_OctNov_2013


While I’d like to remind everybody one more time of the show The Map is not the Territory at the  Jerusalem fund gallery Al-Quds in Washington DC, I also take the opportunity to post the work and its statement currently on display there.

Also The Jerusalem Fund Gallery website has been updated with 3 new videos and a wonderful artist talk with D.C.-based arists Mona El-Bayoumi, Phoebe Farris and Helen Zughaib

This time it’s not plastic bags!

DSCF0320CRUMBS OF LAND: KHOBZ A WORD FOR FREEDOM Globalization: a beautiful intention with frightening consequences, a grotesque artifice or simply the natural outcome of the human process of evolution? It is in this globalized world of low costs airlines fares and wars on petrol that I have been mapping my territory. I have been weaving my relationships among people across different nations and cultures, petrol and wars rule the trajectory of my heart. A world coming together in a burst of technology whilst generations of young nomadic souls traverse the universal river of interconnectedness only to reach the patrolled shores of globalization. And I wonder where the line between global interconnectivity trespassing on cosmic consciousness might be. Maybe right here, where the illusion of freedom dissolves into blood soaked imperialism enmeshed in individualism. How much longer can I be spared by war? How much longer will my life-style enslave my neighbour? Whichever nationality, race or belief I am still tied in the same cosmic string of molecules: humanity trapped inside a pang of drops bleeding across territories. I, a middle-class, white, European, woman, travel the fractured land smuggling my consciousness whilst stepping on the crumbs of someone else’s bread, some else’s freedom.


Unfortunately I was not able to attend the opening of the show: THE MAP IS NOT THE TERRITORY curated by Jennifer Heath and Dagmar Painter that just opened last week on 6th September at The Jerusalem Fund Gallery Al Quds in Washington DC.For those people that like me were not there I am posting some pics of the opening night that the curators have kindly shared with us. Also you can go to the Gallery website for more info and images of the works: Also just to remind you that the show will run through October 18th.

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here is more about it:

This juried invitational exhibition, conceived by Jennifer Heath of Baksun Books & Arts, and co-curated by Dagmar Painter opens September 6, 2013 through October 18. The exhibition features 39 artists from around the world who have created artworks that examine the shared historical and contemporary paths of three cultures: Palestinian, Native American and Irish.

The exhibition will examine themes such as occupation, conflict, resistance, land, food, home, identity, diaspora and more.

Contemporary artists from all three cultural groups have created original paintings, photographs, prints, drawings, artist books and films considering their historical and contemporary links. During the run of the show, there will be a series of films, an artists’ panel, and a scholarly panel exploring the topic, with dates to be announced on the Jerusalem Fund website. After its run at the Jerusalem Fund Gallery Al-Quds, the exhibition will travel for 5 years, exhibiting in museums in the United States and abroad. A full list of the venues will be available on the Jerusalem Fund website after the show opens



I am proud to be part to be part to this poignant exhibition and to show with: 6+: a women’s art collective, Alan MontgomeryThe_Map_Poster_PRINT_inhouse-page-001
Andrew Ellis Johnson
Claudia Borgna
Donna Schindler
Elena Farsakh
Fatin Al-Tamimi
Hani Zurob
Helen Zughaib
Jane McMahan
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith
John Halaka
Kerry Vander Meer
Lisamarie Johnson
Malaquias Montoya
Manal Deeb
Mary Tuma
Matthew Egan
Melanie Yazzie
Michael Elizondo, Jr.
Michael Keating
Michele Horrigan
Mick O’Kelly
Mona El-Bayoumi
Nadema Agard
Najat El-Khairy
Najib Joe Hakim
Neal Ambrose-Smith
Norman Akers
Phoebe Farris
Rajjie Cook
Rawan Arar
Rita Duffy
Scott Benesiinaabandan
Sherry Wiggins
Susanne Slavick
Tom Quinn Kumpf
Vivien Sansour
Wahsontiio Cross