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Ghosts, Amman Design Week 2019

Curated by Noura al Sayeh

This ghostly collection is formed of replicas of displaced archaeological glass artifacts from the Levant landscape currently stored and displayed in western institutions including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Penn Museum, and The Royal Ontario Museum. The chosen vessels are seen as critical forms in the construct of the global south’s imaginary but have been uprooted and stuck in a specific time and space without being able to tell their stories in a contemporary light. Each object is tracked to identify its provenance, donor, and current status and whether the objects were donated by strangers, anonymous, or foreign experts to these institutions. Each vessel is drawn, rendered and then reproduced, as a ghost of the original, by expert glassblowers in Jaba’ Palestine. The replication of these artifacts aims at shedding light on both the cultural weight of the artifacts themselves as well as the weight of the ancient history of glass blowing in the region. The collection celebrates the formal language of each vessel by bringing the forms into a regional and global contemporary setting. Exhibiting these forms in the Levant is particularly special, a form of restitution for these displaced artifacts as this design week is accessible to a local and regional audience dedicated and rooted to this ground we stand on. This is all in an effort, as mentioned, to breath life back into archaeological artifacts as well as reactivate the dying glass blowing industry in our region.