In a newsletter on Monday evening, the Dar Yusuf Nasri Jacir for Art and Research, an arts center in Bethlehem, the West Bank, said that it had weathered damage during a raid by Israeli forces.
According to its statement, the center, which was founded in 2014 by Golden Lion–winning artist Emily Jacir and her sister Annemarie, was allegedly searched the Saturday prior. “There has been extensive damage throughout the building,” its statement reads. “The offices were ransacked, and equipment was taken including phones, computer, hard drive, cameras, books and more.”
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Nobody was hurt in the process, according to the statement, although the center said that its current artists in residence were “forced to leave and seek shelter elsewhere as the area was and remains unsafe” amid a fire that burned the center’s farm and several adjacent houses.
ARTnews has not been able to independently confirm who was responsible for the raid. We have reached out to both the Dar Jacir and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for comment.
Speaking of a “historic moment in Palestine,” Dar Jacir said in its statement on Monday, “We will remain steadfast and continue to stand by our mission to protect cultural life and heritage for artists, students and community members.”
Known as Dar Jacir for short, the center has become an important hub for artists and researchers in the West Bank over the past few years. Emily Jacir, the Palestinian artist whose films and photography won her the Guggenheim Museum’s Hugo Boss Prize in 2008, formed Dar Jacir at her family’s 19th-century home in 2014. According to its website, Dar Jacir seeks to probe the “place in which the history and contemporary conditions of Bethlehem meet, enabling the exchange and production of new art works and visions towards the future.”
In 2018, Dar Jacir kicked off a residency program that has brought artists such as Coco Fusco, Trevor Paglen, Sam Durant, and Jumana Manna into its orbit. Artists Nicolás Jaar, Michael Rakowitz, and Adrian Paci have also led workshops there.
Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have escalated over the past week. Earlier this month, protests had erupted among Palestinians over the evictions of families from East Jerusalem. According to the New York Times, as of Tuesday morning, Israeli air strikes killed 212 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip over the past week, while at least 10 people in Israel were killed by Hamas rockets. Over the weekend, the IDF bombed an office tower in Gaza that housed the Associated Press and Al Jazeera.