A suitcase exhibition about...


...human constructions between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean!

During history of mankind, newcomers seldom mixed quietly among their already settled fellow men. Almost every time a hopeless conflict started, just as it did for ages in Palestine and Israel. For centuries people from abroad are settling there or inhabitants move from one place to another within the region. They take along their religion, language and manners as a trusted anchorage. When they finally settle somewhere, the first thing to do is to create a new house and home. Thoughts about ‘home’ as a trustworthy living space are very important. As a result to this neighbourhoods and villages of newcomers look different from the already existing areas. But also the residences that are centuries old have already been enriched by many external influences.

Despite many wars, occupations and armistices, during which many people fled or moved, complete destruction of the houses left behind failed to come. That’s why the land between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean sea has become a treasury of architecture and urban planning. A treasury, often hidden and never opened completely. Israel and Palestine are mostly looked at through highly coloured glasses. Religious, sentimental or other subjective kind of glasses lead to an emotionally loaded selection. That makes it hard for a traveller with interest in this subject to discover the objective truth about sand, stones, cement and concrete.

In our exhibition ‘Stones, hands and ideas’ value judgements confused by emotions have no part. The project wants to show an objective picture of the unique urban planning, the special village architecture and other remarkable human traces in the landscape of Israel and Palestine. To show only the outstanding urban or architectural aspects of the different subjects, we present each of them as a suitcase-sized scale model, designed in an artistic way.

Maastricht, January 2013
Gonnie Meijer & Paul Tieman

Gonnie Meijer and Paul Tieman are the moving spirits behind this project. They have a lot of travelling and professional experience in the Middle East. Combined with their profound interest in urban planning and historical geography they discovered very interesting places as shown here. To be fully independent the project is completely organised and financed by themselves. They got lots of help from many people. It is impossible to acknowledge them by name, because some of them do not like to see their names next to ‘the others’ within in the same project.
Stones, hands and ideas is currently exhibited at Selexyz Dominicanen, the famous bookstore-in-the-former-church in Maastricht. It will be visible there till march 3, 2013. The exhibition was opened by a speech, written by Marcel Kurpershoek, the Dutch ambassador in Poland. He is one of the most experienced scientists and travellers in the Middle East and shared with us his curious view on humanity of the region, where the past is rarely more than a few steps away from the present. Marcel Kurpershoek has been one of the very few scientists who documented the poems and stories of the Arabian desert. Beside that, he wrote many travelling stories about the region.
About the photographs above:
1. The 'throne village' Ras Karkar in the  typical landscape of Palestine.
2. The palace of Ras Karkar under construction, 700 times smaller than the real building
3. The finished model of Ras Karkar
4. One of the apartment blocks of the neighbourhood of Kiryat Shalom in Tel Aviv, which date back to the 1950's
5. The model of Kiryat Shalom shows clearly that the planners of the neighbourhood represented the Hebrew letter 'shin', which is the first one of 'shalom', 'peace' or simply 'hello'.