Art Event ‘On Friendship/(Collateral Damage) III – The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam’ The Guest becomes Host
Art Manifestation in Amsterdam
Joseph Sassoon Semah shares his lost rich Jewish Babylonian cultural heritage He asks the public to review their own art, culture, traditions and identity.
The manifestation takes place mainly in 36 different public locations in Amsterdam, from September 7th-January 19th 2020.
Stichting Metropool Internationale Kunstprojecten.
Curator: Linda Bouws.
On Friendship/(Collateral Damage) III – The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam is an aesthetic and poetic research into the cities Baghdad, Jerusalem and Amsterdam, which has been conceived by artist Joseph Sassoon Semah and curated by Linda Bouws (Metropool International Art Projects). All these cities are said to have been tolerant at some time in their history, but how does that relate to ‘otherness’ and what does it mean today? The project focuses on two lines of thought. The first is what Semah called ‘The Third GaLUT’, the third Exile, a metaphor for disconnectedness.
The second is ‘The Guest’, he who is allowed to live and work in a foreign context tests his surroundings the very moment he articulates his particular position in exile without any reservations. The Guest becomes Host. By this process Semah investigates one of the greatest achievements of human civilisation: hospitality. Joseph Sassoon Semah translates his cultural and visual heritage and its subtext into contemporary art. While doing so he reassesses and redefines lost heritages.
The project will translate the cultural heritage of Baghdad, Jerusalem, and Amsterdam, with the help of the different ‘Guests’, into a meaningful experience for a broad audience.
In On Friendship/(Collateral Damage) III - The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam, Joseph Sassoon Semah shares his lost rich Jewish Babylonian cultural heritage and asks the public to review their own art, culture, traditions and identity. This will take place mainly in 36 public locations in Amsterdam.
There will be new pieces of art, performances, debates, lectures, round-table discussions, video-interviews, a publication in English, articles on diverse platforms, a research - and a video-report. Simultaneously in Amsterdam, Baghdad and Jerusalem a small house will be built: MaKOM in MaKOM. The project will translate the cultural heritage of Baghdad, Jerusalem and Amsterdam, with the help of different ‘Guests’, into a meaningful experience for a broad audience.
On Friendship/(Collateral Damage) III – The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam’was partly created with support from BPD Cultuurfonds and the Mondriaan Fonds.
Artist Joseph Sassoon Semah
Artist Joseph Sassoon Semah was born in Baghdad (Iraq, 1948), as one of the last of a Babylonian Jewish family lineage, the grandson of Chief Rabbi Hacham Sassoon Kadoori (1885-1971). Kadoori was the head of the Babylonian Jewish community and preached of peace between Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Baghdad once was one of the most diverse an tolerant cities in the world. The Babylonian Jews in Iraq were one of the oldest and historically seen, the most important Jewish community. The Talmud Bavli was compiled in Babylon and during the British mandate in the 1920s, the well-educated Jews played an important role in public life. But from 1948, the year of independence for Israel, life for Jews in Iraq becomes extremely difficult.
Between 1950-1952, 120.000 - 130.000 Iraqi Jews were transported to Israel. The displaced Baghdadi Jews were forced to leave behind their culture and possessions in Iraq. Semah, together with his parents was displaced to the State of Israel in 1950. His grandfather Hacham Sassoon Kadoori refused to leave Iraq and stayed in Bagdhad until his death. His experiences in the Six Day War (1967) and the Yom Kippur War (1973) resulted in Joseph Sassoon Semah deciding to leave Israel: in this context he calls this a 'self-imposed exile'.
As a Babylonian Jew who emigrated to the West (Amsterdam), he is part of GaLUT (Exile), an endless cycle of diaspora and return. You long for your country of birth and search for a way to relate to your cultural heritage and traditions. Heritage reminds us of our history.
On Friendship/(Collateral Damage) III – The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam
For this project Joseph Sassoon Semah designs a new series of drawings and scale-sized architectural models of houses, cultural institutions, synagogues and Jewish burial places in Baghdad from before 1948, that refer to their rich history.
At all 36 locations there will be an architectural art-model on show for at least a month, and activities will be organised with the partners.