Founded in 1998, Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art has become a beacon of creativity and culture in the heart of Jerusalem. Stemming from the work of the Anadiel Gallery, which was established in 1992, the Foundation quickly became an important and critical part of Jerusalem’s artistic scene that sought to preserve Palestinian art. However because the Anadiel was a private initiative, it did not qualify for much funding from international organizations, despite the important role it played in the Palestinian cultural scene. A group of architects, artists and activists vied together to then establish Al-Ma’mal, the Arabic word for workshop or small factory. Taking its name from the old tile factory that had been built in 1900 and operated until 1975, Al-Ma’mal is still known to all the neighbors in the old city by it’s original purpose.
Situated right in the heart of the old city in Jerusalem, Al-Ma’mal seeks to facilitate the art community by offering a platform to share, exhibit, discuss and navigate Palestinian art, music and culture openly. The foundation runs several programs, including an artist-in-residence, The Jerusalem Show, the Workshop Program, the Contemporary Art Museum – Palestine (CAMP project) and the Presentations and Creative Encounters program, all of which offer a unique venue for the society to engage in a visually stimulating experience. Al-Ma’mal states part of their mission statement is, “to contribute towards the evolvement of the cultural fabric of society, which gives art more possibilities to become a mode of expression and a way of life,” while also “maintaining a Palestinian cultural voice”.
The importance of such foundations cannot be underestimated, as they are such an imperative part of maintaining cultural awareness, pride and sharing and engaging both local and international youth in programs that foster growth, curiosity and inspiration.
Starting on October 22 and running until November 15, Al-Ma’mal will be hosting the Jerusalem Show 2014, part of the 2nd Qalandiya International (Qi), which is a coalition of 8 local institutions from Jerusalem, Ramallah, Gaza and historic Palestine, featuring a variety of live shows, talks, guided tours, film screenings, performances and symposia.