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2007 Artas Lettuce Festival: Art and Photgraphy Exhibits

Contributed by Artas Folklore Center on 08.06.2007:

From the Thirteenth Artas Lettuce Festival Guide


In different nooks and crannies of the Artas Folklore Center complex and other Artas buildings and institutions, you will come across our broad range of exhibits.

A Journey through the Life and Work of Hanna Abdullah Giacaman, Hanna Giacaman Memorial Foundation

Missing from the festival this year in body, but not in spirit is the late Hanna Abdullah Giacaman, who passed away last fall. Abu Abdullah, as he was known, who hailed from near-by Bethlehem, did not skip the Convent of the Hortus Conclusus in Artas while gathering material for his multi-volume historical works. The Hanna Giacaman Memorial Foundation has been founded in honor of Hanna Giacaman, and the lifetime he spent documenting and preserving Palestinian history and heritage. Each year, one Bethlehem high school student will be awarded $500 for the best essay evaluating the significance of the history and heritage of the Holy Land to the younger generations. This exhibit was lovingly prepared by the children and grandchildren of the Hanna Giacaman, who corroborating from their various places of residence around the globe, have collected and displayed his life works and several photos of his life in this exhibit, trying to bring light to his remembered accomplishments.

Photos of Amulets from the Tawfiq Canaan Collection, Birzeit Ethnographic Museum

Established in 2005. the Birzeit Ethnographic and Art Museum boasts 400 square meters of museum space incorporating modern and professionally equipped facilities, including two galleries, a laboratory and storage space. Its collections include Palestinian costumes, traditional pottery and art, as well as the Amulet Collection of Tawfiq Canaan, renowned Palestinian physician and scholar who frequented Artas. Shown here are photographs of a few Amulets from Artas and Bethlehem from this rare collection of about 1400 of amulets, necklaces, beads, inscribed metal pendants, incantation bowls as well as paper talismans portraying evidence of folk custom pertaining to healing and superstitious beliefs. The collection was carefully gathered and documented between 1905 and 1964 by the late Dr. Tawfiq Canaan, and was donated to the University in 1996 by his daughters. Wherever you live it is well worth the trip to the BZU Ethnographic museum to see the items in actual size and texture. But if you can’t, you see the collection on the website.

The Rose Garden of Mevlana, Turkish Cultural Center, Jerusalem The Turkish Cultural Center, which enlivened last year’s festival with song and saz, once again provides us with something unique—an exhibit this time. Upon the joint proposal of Turkey with Afghanistan and Egypt, UNESCO declared 2007 the year of Mevlana in commemoration of the 800th anniversary of the birth of Mevlana Celaleddin-i Belhi-Rumi. (1207-1273). Poet, eminent philosopher and mystical poet of Islam, Rumi advocated tolerance, reason and access to knowledge through love. His mystical relationship to Islam produced masterpieces that have made a mark on Islamic culture and devotion, well beyond the borders of Turkey. His work and thought continue to have universal relevance today. Mevlana’s thought provoking quotations in the “The Rose Garden of Mevlana” have been compiled from his famous books named “Masnawe”, “Diwan-e Kabeer”, “Majales-e Seba”, “Feh Ma Feh” and “Maktoobat” and the pieces containing his quotas are accompanied by outstanding examples of Turkish miniature drawing art.

Textiles and Artifacts from Uzbeqistan, The Uzbeq Cultural Center, Jerusalem

This exhibit of textiles, objects and photos not only evokes the 400 year presence of the Uzbek community in Jerusalem, but takes us far beyond to the splendors of Uzbekistan and the Silk Road. Presiding over the exhibit and the Uzbek Community is the Sheikh Abdel Aziz al Bukhari, who inherited some of the tablecloths, pillowcases, robes, pottery, carved wood, and old handwritten books, and collected the rest from trips to Uzbekistan. Sheikh Abdel Aziz is also the spiritual leader of the Naqshabendi Sufi sect, centered in the mosque of the Uzbek complex, which comprises the Cultural Center, a cemetery and the Sheik’s Residence. Those who can get to Jerusalem should not miss the opportunity to visit this interesting corner of the Old City on the Via Dolorosa, particularly during Ramadan’s Sufi Night. Some information about Sheik Aziz and the Uzbek Community can be found on the website below.

The Photos of Hilma Granqvist, The Palestine Exploration Fund, London

Shown here are a few of the photos of Hilma Granqvist, a Finnish anthropologist of Swedish extraction, who originally came to Artas in 1925 with the intention of writing about the lives of women in Biblical Times, hoping to get clues from contemporary village women. Fortunately for us she soon changed direction and studied instead the customs and traditions of the village from cradle to grave which come down to us in five books. What is notable in her work is the degree to which she allowed the local inhabitants to speak to us directly from the page. One of the most significant of the long line of foreign women who resided or studied in the village from the 1850’s, she lived with Louisa Baldensperger, daughter of French missionaries, whose house, awaiting restoration, is still found. Hilma took hundreds of photos but died before she could carry out her intention of publishing a photo album. It was left to another woman, Karen Seger, to sort through Hilma’s written and visual oeuvre, summarizing and arranging the material in an easily grasped manner which resulted in her book Portrait of a Palestinian Village: the photographs of Hilma Granqvist( edited by Karen Seger, Third World Research Centre for Research and Publishing, Ltd. 1981) This small sample of photos, provided courtesy of the Palestine exploration fund, arrived too late to be exhibited in last year’s festival as planned.

Photographs of Artas from The Spirit of Sumud- pictures from the West Bank of occupied Palestine : Photographic Exhibition by James Prineas. Educational Institute

Stunning views from the 2006 Artas Lettuce Festival by Australian born, and Berlin-based James Prineas, founder These photos are taken from The Spirit of Sumud, which features pictures from Wadi Kelt, and The Wall, as well. The entire collection was first exhibited at the Bethlehem Peace Center last October at the local launch of, a ground-breaking website allowing Palestinians the world over to upload such items as family trees, photos, stories, documents, recipes and cures as well as articles. The exhibit is designed to assist those outside Palestine to grasp the true wonder of the local landscape and people, as well as the absurdity and oppression of the wall which surrounds much of occupied Palestine. It was created with the support of and partners, the AEI-Open Windows in Bethlehem and Artas Folklore Center. We will miss James this year, but his spirit is very much with us as he has generously allowed us to use his photographs in the design of our festival materials.


Working Today for Conservation Tomorrow—Promoting Ecotourism in Artas, Palestine Wildlife Society, (PWLS) Beit Sahour/Jericho

Thanks to the meeting of several climatic zones, Palestine has been blessed with natural features not found anywhere else, making it a strategic location and historical cultural and natural hub. Charged with managing and promoting the nations national assets is the Palestine Wildlife Society, one of the most dynamic organizations in Palestine, known for its Wildlife Monitoring Station in Jericho, participation in festivals, and exciting educational programs. It just held a highly successful First International Bird Festival. Artas, where the meeting of ecosystems and civilizations is particularly pronounced, is a natural partner for their Eco-tourism Program, which aims at the development and implementation of Eco-Tourism as a profession, for income-generation, and the promotion of Palestine as a destination for eco-tourists. In this exhibit the PWLS highlights some of the Flora and Fauna as well as Natural and Cultural Sites in Artas, and some of its other pioneering work.

Replicas of Ancient Pottery, Palestinian, Palestine Agency for Food and Agriculture, (PAFA), Ramallah

These replicas of pottery from different periods in Palestine’s history from ancient times are made by ceramic artist Abdel Razzak Mohammed el Haj.

Publications on Palestinian Heritage, Inash el Usra Society-Center for Heritage

and Folklore Studies, El Bireh

With its transformation from an organization powered by the dedication of a few committed individuals to a thriving active multi-dimensional organization dedicated to preserving Palestinian heritage while meeting the social, economic and educational needs of the Palestinian population, Inash il Usra serves as a model of what the Artas Folklore Center aspires to be, which is reflected in the fact that on our founding board were several of its members. In view of the fact that the fields of Anthropology and related disciplines grew out of and have assumptions of a Western mind-set, Inash el Usra recently held a ground-breaking conference entitled, Toward an Arabic-Islamic Approach to the study of Man and Society. Some of the impressive array of publications of the organization, including its journal, Heritage and Society, will be exhibited and sold at the festival.


For your gateway to photos, text, festival program, festival guide, media coverage and more, see “The Thirteenth Annual Artas Lettuce Festival in a Lettuce Leaf” :

For more about Artas and the Artas Folklore Center, see or from the navigation pane at left select “Our Partners”> Artas Folklore Center.

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