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The Present is Absent 2014

Nasrin Abu Baker calls her exhibition “The Absent is Present,” a metaphor for Palestinians who were forced out of their homes during Al- Nakbeh in 1948 into neighboring towns and villages. As refugees and exiled in their own homeland, they were granted citizenship, but they were not allowed to return to their homes. The state of Israel confscated their homes and issued the law of present absentee: present in records, but absent from home.
Adding the predicate to the original legal text “the absent present” and turning it into a verbal clause — “the absent is present”— emphasizes the defnition of the present as absent. The predicative adjective informs us that those who are present in Abu Baker’s artwork are those who exercise their actual presence in reality, although they remain invisible and absent from demonstrating influence. These are the Arab Palestinian workers, women and children; groups that carry no weight, and yet become a burden on the state’s institutions.

Text by Salim Abu Jabal/ Photography: Yigal Pardo

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