(still from Something From There)
Palestinian-Canadian artist/activist Rana Nazzal Hamadeh is the next participant in our Community Resource Program.
Nazzal Hamadeh is a recent Documentary Media MFA graduate from the School of Image Arts at Ryerson University. Currently located in Ramallah in the Palestinian West Bank, Nazzal Hamadeh uses community organizing, photography, and filmmaking to consider Indigenous sovereignty, displacement, and abolition. Her documentary Something From There debuted in 2020 at the Toronto Palestine Film Festival and her exhibition 1/1000th of a Dunam is scheduled to open at the Ryerson Image Centre Student Gallery this fall.
The disproportionate power structures of settler colonial states are complex, which Nazzal Hamadeh astutely addresses when she explains:
Part of the outcome of colonization has been that for those of us struggling with our own issues and feeling stripped of agency, we can forget we are also agents who can act in solidarity with other peoples. I think growing that is actually really essential because it not only offers our solidarity with other people, it reminds us we are not just victims of something.
We look forward to nurturing relations with artists such as Rana Nazzal Hamadeh to expand our networks, to educate and to unite artists, audiences, and communities. This program will enable Nazzal Hamadeh to continue her research and community organizing between Canada and Palestine.
(images from the series 1/1000th of a Dunam)
Developed a year ago, the Community Resource Program is focused on supporting artists who are active in the fight for social justice and to date has supported the work of Amoya Reé, Keosha Love, and Jayda Marley. This program enables AGYU to act swiftly and respond to urgent local and global concerns. We use this program now to move beyond statements of solidarity in a commitment to do the work needed to ensure that AGYU play a part in amplifying the critical voices of artists.
On the one-year anniversary of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, new and fervent calls for solidarity have once again been asked of individuals, institutions, and organizations, the world over. The AGYU considers our programs as our best tool to support and be in solidarity with local and international actions and causes, and in support of artists and communities who historically and currently have been gravely silenced and/or underrepresented. Through our programs, we amplify the artistic practices, ideals, and the lives of artists. We make this statement as a form of transparency and accountability to position our programs as action — lived, continuous, and responsive. Anti-colonial actions take many forms, and we must collectively consider the most powerful, effective, long-standing ways we can utilize the platforms to which we have access.