Art in General
New York, NY
September 1–November 3, 2020

Keren Benbenisty’s first solo institutional exhibition in New York explores ways that historical projections, colonial manipulations, and orientalist imaginations imprint and modify territories. Fajja takes its name from a Palestinian village whose land is part of Petach Tikva. Originally exhibited at the Petach Tikva Museum of Art in 2018–2019, the project is inspired by a 19th-century German printing press imported by Jewish immigrants in 1932, and used to print paper for orchard owners to wrap Jaffa oranges until the 1990s. Jewish immigrants, who settled in Palestine in the 20th century, turned Jaffa oranges—a species once cultivated by Palestinian farmers—into a national export, and the fruit became strongly associated with the State of Israel. Exploring the relationship between typography and topography, Fajja presents video and sound installations, works on paper, and sculpture by Benbenisty about the history of the production and cultivation of the Jaffa orange, as well as how it became an emblem of  Palestinian land and a symbol of the nascent State of Israel.