Dar Jacir. Courtesy: Kickstarter
CAIRO - 8 June 2017: Palestinian artist Emily Jacir initiated a crowd funding project to create a visionary, artist-run hub of art, education, and research in the 127-year-old home of her great great grandfather in Bethlehem.
Dar Jacir for Art and Research is planned to be an independent cultural center in the Jacir family home, built by al-Mukhtar Yusuf Jacir in 1890 in Bethlehem.
Emily along with partners plan to ocus the activity of Dar Jacir on visual art, cinema, and hosting a small residency program with a special concentration on the Bethlehem community living in Chile. There will be numerous activities including workshops, exhibitions, master classes, and a place for visiting international and local artists and scholars to come and stay
According to Kickstart page of the initiative, they also plan the construction of a research center to enclose the "Yusuf Nasri Suleiman Jacir Collection," which holds extremely rare records of one of Palestine’s crucial and prosperous Ottoman-era merchants. The peak period of globalization in Bethlehem was at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of twentieth century when Ottoman-era merchants from Bethlehem were moving in and around Latin America, East Asia, as well as other parts of the Ottoman Empire.
The precious records consist of diaries, photographs, newspapers, personal letters (exchanged between Bethlehem and various points around the world dating from the 1880s to 1930s), ledgers, correspondence, and an extremely rare in-depth archive of international financial transactions kept in ledgers which span a period of more than half a century. These documents are unique as they are a solid testimony of the golden commercial age of Bethlehem, before the British rule, when the city was a cosmopolitan hub.
The founder of the initiative, Emily Jacir, is an award-winning artist, filmmaker, and educator from Bethlehem who has been teaching at the International Academy of Art Palestine for ten years.
Emily spoke to Egypt Today about the initiative. ”It started in 2014, and it's strongly supported by the Bethlehemite community around the world and the people who love her work internationally,” she said.
When asked about the Jacir grandchildren collaborating in the project; she told Egypt Today that the initiative is multi-generational; it includes her, her siblings, and father who all grew up in the house.
The ambitious project has a number of partners. The building will be renovated by RIWAQ , the prestigious Palestinian non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Palestinian collective memory through projects that document and restore architectural heritage sites across the West Bank and Gaza..In addition, the Institute for Palestinian Studies (IPS) will be working on the invaluable archive and Bethlehem University will partake in the workshops and lectures.
To support the initiative, visit their page on kickstarter: