In February 2017, the Institut du monde arabe (Arab World Institute) exhibited a selection of works from the solidarity collection for the future Palestinian Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. That first exhibition has since given rise to more than fifty donations from European and Arab artists, including Claude Viallat, Hamed Abdalla, Robert Combas, Hervé Di Rosa, Robert Scemla, and Rachid Koraïchi. One year after the unveiling of this «gamble» undertaken despite the vagaries of the situation in Palestine and the surrounding countries, the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art in Palestine and its partner, the Institut du monde arabe, present the progress of an «unrealistic project in the eyes of some, [that is] becoming more of a reality every day» according to Elias Sanbar, Ambassador of Palestine to UNESCO.
Inspired by the Mahmoud Darwish poem «And We Love Life», the title of this second For a Museum in Palestine exhibition reaffirms the commitment of artists to see one day the construction of a Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Palestine. In one year, the collection has grown to include more solidarity donations from European and Arab artists, totalling 140 works. While the collection was being enriched, the search for a land on which to build the future Museum began. Following the same approach as for the creation of the permanent collection, namely the principle of solidarity, initial contacts with major architects have been established to consider the form of their contributions. These first contacts have been positive and encouraging.
On 16 October 2015, Jack Lang, the President of the Institut du monde arabe, and Elias Sanbar, the Ambassador of Palestine to UNESCO, signed a partnership agreement to work towards the creation of a Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Palestine. Inspired by the «Museum in Exile» created in the 1980s in South Africa by international artists to denounce apartheid, the Museum in Palestine project is based on the principle of a solidarity collection consisting of donations from artists. Managed by a French association, the collection is held at the Institut du monde arabe, its anchor point, pending the acquisition of land and the construction of the museum buildings in Palestine.
Coordinated by Ernest Pignon Ernest, a trusted intermediary among artists, the collection of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Palestine intends to match the quality of major international museums. The museum aspires to cover the essential currents of contemporary art from the last fifty years. From abstraction with Loste and Petit to the Supports/Surfaces movement with Viallat via Figuration Libre with Di Rosa and Boisrond. All forms of expression are represented: photography with CartierBresson and Doisneau, comics with Tardi and Titouan Lamazou, as well as film, with Jean-Luc Godard donating to the collection his latest film, on the theme of language, currently in the editing phase. The collection is under construction, being enriched every day by major donations collected by the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art in Palestine.