Khaled Jarrar, former bodyguard to Yasser Arafat, awarded the Anni & Henrich Sussmann Foundation prize.
Provocative, socially engaged and multidisciplinary, Khaled Jarrar is no ordinary artist.
Born in 1976 in Jenin, Palestine, he served in the Palestinian Presidential Guard during Yasser Arafat’s mandate and worked as a carpenter before graduating from the International Academy of Art Palestine in 2011. Today, he is the recipient of the Anni & Henrich Sussmann Foundation prize, supporting “artists who are committed to democracy and antifascism”. Jarrar will receive the €5,000 prize during a ceremony that will be held in Vienna on November 8.
In 2006, then aged 31, Jarrar started attending the International Academy of Art Palestine, all the while continuing to serve in the Presidential Guard. At the International Academy of Art, Jarrar begun to write and direct his first films, which were intended to open his audience’s eyes, and in particular those of the fellow servicemen who had joined the army.
In the summer of 2014, Jarrar was prevented from attending the opening of the exhibition “Here and Elsewhere” at the New Museum in New York, where his documentary Les infiltrés, awarded the Special Jury Prize at the 2012 International Film Festival of Dubai, was projected as part of the show. The artist had in fact been stopped at the Israeli-controlled Allenby Bridge checkpoint — the sole entry/exit point for West Bank Palestinians to travel in and out of the region — for “security reasons.”
Through photography, video and sculpture, Khaled Jarrar’s work brings Palestinian life, as well as the socio-political impact of the Israel west bank barrier, to the fore. From November 13, Jarrar will be at Dubai’s Ayyam Gallery for a solo show of his work.
Established in 1989, the Anni & Heinrich Sussmann Foundation prize supports politically engaged artists. “Art has the potential to raise questions and maybe even make a change. Artists taking a stand, provoking … shedding light on hidden spaces, in order to resist powers that try to limit freedom, equality, and democracy. They are the ones that are seldomly getting support both financially and institutionally.” In 2015, the prize was awarded to Marina Naprushkina.