Art manifestation

‘On Friendship/(Collateral Damage) III – The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam’

20 December 2019 t/m 19 January 2020

Joseph Sassoon Semah shares his lost cultural legacy through visual arts, performances, debates and lectures.

Two identical artworks are set up simultaneously in two different places. The shape of the objects is based on the memory that artist Joseph Sassoon Semah has of the entrance of a public air-raid shelter in Tel Aviv. One of these objects is in the Jewish Historical Museum. The other object is at the natural stone company of Yasin Kalac, Redstone, also in Amsterdam.

On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) III The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam, 2019 Architectural model mass grave (‘Farhud’, Baghdad, June 1-2 1941) Wood, 22 m white band, 2x saw horse 110 x 50 x 130 cm

With his art manifestation On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) III - The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam, Semah makes a poetic and critical search for these three cities. All three have always been hospitable and tolerant places of refuge, but are they today? What is the place of the "guest" when it demands its place and becomes the host? In this way Semah examines the nature of exile and exile, of diaspora and return.

36 artworks, 36 locations
For this art manifestation Semah designed 36 models on the scale of houses, cultural institutions, synagogue and cemeteries from his past. From September 7, 2019 to January 19, 2020, these can be seen at 36 different locations in Amsterdam. The Jewish Historical Museum is one of the 36 locations.

Working drawing, architectural model mass grave (‘Farhud’, Baghdad, June 1-2 1941). 30 x 21 cm. Paper, blue ink, pencil

Artist Joseph Sassoon Semah (Iraq, 1948) is the grandson of the last Chief Rabbi of Baghdad. In 1950, the Semah family, like over 120,000 other Bagdadi Jews, was relocated to Israel. They were forced to leave their culture and possessions behind. Now he works and lives in Amsterdam. Semah shares his Babylonian-Jewish lost cultural heritage with visual arts, performances and debates.

To read the letter that started this all, click here.

Kunstkabinet in the Jewish Historical Museum
Nieuwe Amstelstraat 1
1011 PL Amsterdam

Metropool International Art Projects Foundation
Curator: Linda Bouws

For info and data "On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) III - The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam" see


Banner image:  EIR MiKLaT, The City of Refuge. [Epistemic מקום בתוך מקום MaKOM in MaKOM] 1986. 2x - wood, bronze, 200 x 200 x 72 cm. The form of the footnotes (artworks) is based on a childhood memory of a public entrance to a bomb shelter, in Tel-Aviv, Israel.

On Friendship / (Collateral Damage). III The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam, 2019. 36 hard boiled eggs, 36 candle holders, 20 hard-boiled eggs, 4 school chairs. Photo: Ilya Rabinovich
Signed here. Joseph Semah 24.2.2010. 90 x 60 x 5 cm. Oil paint, white threads, wood, glass, two linen cloths on canvas stretchers. Photo: Arend Velsinka
(Between Graveyard and Museum's Sphere), 2019. Model-based on Synagogue Meir Tweig, Baghdad, Iraq Bronze, 10 ShOFaROT. 110 x 50 x 40 cm. Photo: Ilya Rabinovich
Ha-SheM Ha-MeFURaSh [Tetragrammaton] 1986 hight 200 cm, 10 fluorescent tubes, 104 meters electricity wire Photo: Ilya Rabinovich


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