Jeddah-based organization Art Jameel and Beirut-based publishing house Kaph Books have announced the recent release of “Monumental Shadows: On Museums, Memory, and the Making of History.”
According to the statement, the 320-page bilingual (English and Arabic) publication aims to “radically reboot contemporary global conversations on museum practices, history-making, and the politics of dispossession and conflict in relation to material heritage, drawing from a wide range of voices.”
Featuring a mix of text and images, the book showcases the work of 19 groundbreaking artists, curators and cultural producers from over 10 countries. It is believed to be one of the first books on museum practices rooted in experiences and perspectives from the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
The publication explores the relationship between histories of colonization and the circulation and display of historical artifacts and contemporary art through commissioned essays, interviews, and visual contributions by experts in the field.
Contributors include Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Michael Rakowitz, Basel Abbas, Ruanne Abou-Rahme and Akram Zaatari.
The book is edited by Nora Razian, Art Jameel’s deputy director and head of exhibitions and programs, with a foreword by Art Jameel Director Antonia Carver.
Art Jameel, headquartered in Jeddah and the UAE, has been advocating for the arts in the region since its establishment in 2003. Its collaboration with Kaph Books, established in 2015 with the aim of publishing high-quality books about the region, demonstrates a joint commitment to elevating the region’s art narratives.
“Monumental Shadows” is the culmination of Art Jameel’s multi-year project exploring various aspects of material heritage, from the destruction of monuments and contested ownership to the use of scanning technologies in preservation and reconstruction. The organization has worked with artists whose practices are rooted in regional histories.
The edited volume expands on the Jameel Arts Center’s 2019-2021 exhibition program, which examined the politics of material heritage. This includes the group exhibition “Phantom Limb” in 2019, as well as solo exhibitions by Michael Rakowitz and Hiwa K in 2020 and 2021.
“Monumental Shadows: On Museums, Memory, and the Making of History” is available worldwide through Kaph book’s online store and select bookshops. It is also available at the physical Art Jameel Shop located at Jameel Arts Center, Dubai.