Subjective atlas of Palestine
أطلس فلسطين الذاتي

Palestinian artists mapping their country as they see it

Sublime landscapes, tranquil urban scenes, frolicking children; who would associate these images with Palestine? More than 30 Palestinian artists, photographers and designers were invited to map their country as they see it. Given their closeness to the subject, this has resulted in unconventional, very human impressions of the landscape and the architecture, the cuisine, the music and the poetry of thought and expression. The contributions give an entirely different angle on a nation in occupied territory.

In this subjective atlas it is the Palestinians themselves who show the disarming reverse side of the black-and-white image generally resorted to by the media.


  • Annelys Devet (NL)

    Artistic director & Co-founder, Annelys Devet (1974, NL) is a Brussels based designer, initiator and curator, founder of a bureau for graphic research and cultural design DEVET. Since 2009 she heads the master in design ‘Think tank for visual strategies’ at the Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam (Masters Rietveld Academie) — where she earned an MDes herself in 1999. She is the co-founder and director of the inclusive design label ‘Disarming Design from Palestine’ that develops, presents and sells useful products from Palestine. The goods are designed during yearly workshops in Palestine with local and international designers that research existing production methods to produce new products that narrate about Palestine’s current reality. Since 2003 De Vet initiated a series of subjective atlases that map countries from a human perspective; including Subjective atlas of Palestine (2007), Subjective atlas of Mexico (2011), Subjective atlas of Fryslân (2013) and Subjective atlas of Colombia (2015) – the next edition will map Pakistan (2016). De Vet co-organized the Masterclass Mediafonds@Sandberg (2009–2015) which is a laboratory for new forms of digital storytelling for media makers, journalists, artists and designers. From 2003 to 2007 she initiated, designed and organized the ’Temporary Museum Amsterdam’, which was the side program of the art fair Art Amsterdam. She co-curated the exhibition ‘UNMAPPING THE WORLD’ on critical contemporary mapping practices, for the ExperimentaDesign biennale 2014 in Lisbon and for the international Graphic Design Festival in Chaumont (2015).

  • Subjective Editions (BE)

    Subjective Editions is a publishing initiative that develops and disseminates bottom-up engaged mapping publications. An expanding series of subjective atlases is being made in collaboration with local communities. These volumes map out a country, region or geopolitical entity in a personal way by the inhabitants themselves.

    During several workshops artists, designers, photographers and architects are invited to map their country, environment or social concerns from their own perspective. They capture their engagement in maps, graphs, inventories, flags or drawings. Personal involvement is the starting point to produce human, unconventional and just images.  Each work stems from involvement with the subjects and takes an engaged, critical and transparent position, not a neutral or so-called objective one. 

    As such, the contributions not only show their own story, but also develop meta-reflections on contemporary forms of living together and community building. This creative trajectory illustrates how design can be an important tool for soft power and how it helps to imagine a different future. The Subjective Atlas is therefore also a proposition for a creative mentality that is politically engaged, socially sensitive, collaborative in nature and transdisciplinary in its method, to expose the consequences of political change, but discreetly, implicitly and not as a goal. 

    The publications show, above all, a complex reality that is often blinded by overly simplistic media images. As a powerful series of alternative, copyright-free cartographies they can serve as an inspiring, publicly available tool to critically question the apparently objective.

  • 2012


    Softcover book, full color, 160 p.

    16.5 x 22 cm