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New York. November. 5th Avenue.

The sun is a plate of a shattered metal.

 I asked my foreign soul: is this city Babylon or Sodom?

There, on the doorstep of an electric abyss, high as the sky, I met Edward thirty years ago.

When time used to be less impetuous than today.

We said to each other:

If your past is only an experience, make for your future sense and vision!

Let us move forward, towards our future, trusting the credibility of the imagination and the miracle of the grass.


I don’t recall whether we went to the cinema that evening, still I heard old Indians calling : trust neither the horse nor modernity.

No. No victim ask its executioner: if I were you? and had my sword been bigger than my rose?  would you have asked if I would have acted like you?

That kind of question arouses the curiosity of the novelist who sits behind the glass walls of his office overlooking the lily garden, where the hand of hypothesis is clear as the conscience of a novelist when he closes accounts with the human instinct.
There is no future behind us, so let us advance!

       Advancing could be a bridge leading back to barbarism .

Mahmound Darwish



06.11.2020 - 21.02.2021

Digital program

Absent Presence

Parallel to the exhibition "Ruškkodit" follows the extended side programme Absent Presence. Curated by Motaz al Habbash.

The title of the exhibition, Ruškkodit, is Sami. Ruški means the time when nature changes colour from summer to autumn and the verb Ruškkodit describes the process of fading colour. The meaning of Ruškkodit relates not only to the works in the exhibition but also to Absent Presence digital program. Bashar Alhroub’s work “Silent Garden” is about surviving elsewhere and how the plants grow and changes in foreign nature. In her work “Digital Residence” May Murad deals with alienated landscape in a digital world. Mohammed al Habbash is a musician that continues to dream despite the siege he lives in Gaza. As artists, they are adopting and trying to make sense of the changes in their surroundings.


Absent Presence is taking place digitally and uses the opportunity to bring voices from Palestine to the art community in Bergen. We are happy to make it possible for us to get to know works and practices that even without the Covid-19 would be very difficult to get out of Palestine due to the Israeli occupation.


The title of the program is inspired by the poet Mahmoud Darwish's book Absent Presence which is about life in exile and surviving as a stranger elsewhere.

The invited artists have experienced to be a stranger inside or outside their own community. How does this alienation affect their work and their memory of their roots?

In this program al Habbash invites Palestinians artists who have experienced life in exile. The program is in many ways inspired by a poem written by the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. Darwish is regarded as the Palestinian national poet and used Palestine as a metaphor for the loss of Eden, birth and resurrection, and the anguish of dispossession and exile. He has been described as incarnating and reflecting "the tradition of the political poet in Islam, the man of action whose action is poetry. On top we have published a translated vertion of the poem for you.

Bashar Alhroub and his project Silent Garden where the artist follows the growth of his foreign plants in his own garden as a way to simulate his alienation inside his own country” Palestine”.

May Murad present her work and tells about the project Digital Residence, digital collaboration with Rachel Ashton. Painting foreign landscapes through digital screens via What's app, Skype and other social media. Two artists exchanging their experiences, feelings, fears and hopes all through an internet connection.

Mohammed Alhabbash;  is a musicain, composer and music teacher who never gave up his dream despite the fact that his city, Gaza, is surrounded by borders. He is a professional musician who found his passion for sharing his love for music with the next generations. 

Absent Presence is supported by The Norwegian Association for Arts and Crafts (Norske Kunsthåndverkere, NK.

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