The 1978 ‘International Art Exhibition for Palestine’, organised by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), comprised of almost 200 works from nearly 30 countries and remains one of the largest exhibitions held in the Arab world. The exhibition was intended as the seed collection for a museum in exile to tour worldwide until it could ‘repatriate’ to Palestine. Tragically, the works and the exhibition’s archive were destroyed during the 1982 Israeli siege of Beirut. The research to reconstruct its narrative began with a copy of the exhibition catalogue that listed artists and acknowledged people and institutions whose support made it possible. ‘Past Disquiet: Narratives and Ghosts from the International Art Exhibition for Palestine, 1978’, curated by Kristine Khouri and Rasha Salti, was the archival and documentary exhibition centred on this research. Using recorded testimonies and private archives, the exhibition uncovered a previously unexplored and complicated network of affiliations that linked militant artists across the world in the context of the Cold War.

Past Disquiet: From Archives to (Speculative) Exhibition Histories