The Museum of Manufactured Response to Absence (MoMRtA) is conceived in response to the absence of people and documents relating to the history of Palestinians in Kuwait, who formed a vibrant community from their arrival in 1936 until their departure enmasse following the Iraqi invasion in 1990.

Historically, the State of Kuwait was exceptionally receptive to large waves of Palestinian immigration due to its support for the Pan-Arab movement and its adoption of the Palestinian cause. Palestinians first arrived in Kuwait as visitors involved in educational missions around the time that oil was discovered in the Burgan Field in 1938. As a result of the 1948 and 1967 wars, more Palestinians settled there, and by 1990 Palestinians in Kuwait numbered 400,000. As Kuwait’s national development plans were set into motion, Palestinians there found themselves players in the golden era of the construction of the Kuwaiti nation. Prior to the age of armed struggle, Palestinians in Kuwait strove to persist in an environment striding steadily towards progress and change while expectantly awaiting the materialization of a state of their own.

The Museum of Manufactured Response to Absence questions the impact of the presence or absence of minority communities and subcultures on the nations they take residence in. In specific, MoMRtA investigates the unchronicled impact of the unique Palestinian society that emerged in Kuwait, one that contributed to and lived the modernization of Kuwait and the pioneering projects undertaken in this vein. MoMRtA’s exploration is conducted through a collection of twenty-eight commissioned objects that purposefully conjure the fading of, and thereby recall, the golden era of Kuwaiti and Palestinian-Kuwaiti society. In light of the lack of collective images, narratives, and archives, memory is taken as the main point of reference for the museum’s objects. Fragile and fragmented, this is a memory that has been accumulated, dismantled, reassembled, and at times lost. The museum’s objects conflate the pieces of this recollected past in order to recognize and make sense of the present, an act that bestows them with an appearance of being at once real, impossible and unreal, and that addresses, imagines and reclaims the history and legacy of Palestinians in Kuwait.

MoMRtA premiered as an intervention at the Museum of Modern Art in Kuwait on May 22, 2012, under the patronage of the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters, Kuwait.


Initiated and produced by MinRASY PROJECTS
thinking [at]

Curated by Ala Younis
alayounis [at]

© MoMRtA