Jumana Manna

United States 1987

Installation, Sculpture, Video Art


Jumana Manna
Jumana Manna
United States
May 16, 2016

Jumana Manna is an American artist of Palestinian lineage who makes sculptures and video art. Her main theme is the issue of identity and personal relation to the body. Everything that she does she derives from her own experience, or, if the subjects are unfamiliar, she gets the inspiration out of her imagination. Manna’s work is symbolic, usually crafted around one topic at the time, creating a well-structured narrative that leads the viewer through a psychological journey. Her sculptures are abstract, full of metaphors and allegory. She uses mixed media and the choice of the material is often as peculiar as the sculpture is.

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Jumana Manna – General Dealer, 2015

Scultpures and Movies

Jumana Manna went to Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, where she graduated with BA in 2006 before she moved to Norway, where she studied at the National Academy of Arts in Oslo. After some time in Norway, she moved back to the United States and enrolled in a graduate program at the CalArts in LA, where she studied Aesthetics and Politics and got her MA. Manna received the Norwegian Sandefjord art award in 2015. Her artwork is based on the mutual relation between sculpture and movies. Her sculptures are often a symbolic still shot of the movie storyline.

The sculptures are often a symbolic still shot of the movie storyline

Jumana Manna - Menace of Origins, 2014
Jumana Manna – Menace of Origins, 2014

Historical and Political Identity

Manna examines the definitions of human identity in relation to their historical heritage, as well as the political identification they get from their national identity. The protagonists of her films are often the mischievous characters who endeavor dangerous behavior that is sometimes against the law, other times against the common ethics. Her collections of sculptures are often done as an homage to the movies she makes. In 2010, she made Blessed Blessed Oblivion movie about the male gang in East Jerusalem. The artist shows compassion to the young delinquents, where a judgmental approach would be expected. She used symbols such as gym equipment and auto mechanic tool to describe their masculinity.

Manna has intuitive approach to scultpure and film

Symbols, Metaphors and References

Her idea is to have empathy toward people, to show compassion and understanding, and not to take the advantage of someone’s vulnerabilities. In her intuitive approach to art and sculpture, she chooses the subjects with great history, and in a way, her theme is attached somewhere in the past, but there is no melancholy or nostalgia in her work, just the reminder that what happened must not be repeated. Or, at least must serve as a lesson. In her art, everything is full of symbols, references, and metaphors. One of her goals is for the audience to recognize the reference and to feel the empathy towards misunderstood and marginalized.

Jumana Manna lives and works in Berlin.

All images © Jumama Manna

Featured image: Jumana Manna – Portrait of the Artist (Detail), 2016, photo credirs Bernilale

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016Jumana MannaMalmo Kunsthall, SESolo
2016Jumana MannaSandefjord Kunstforening, NOSolo
2016Sydney BiennaleSydney, AUGroup
2016Riwaq BiennaleRiwaq, PAGroup
2016Qalandia International BiennaleQalandia, PAGroup
2016Marrakech BiennaleMarrakech, MAGroup
2016RepetitionVilla Empain Brussels, BEGroup
2016ResurrectionsKristiansand Kunsthall, NOGroup
2016Histories of a Vanishing PresentThe Mistake Room, USGroup
2016On the Exactitude of ScieneGoodman Taft, USGroup
2015A magical substance flows into meChisenhale Gallery, UKSolo
2015Doubt of the Stage PrompterEdit-Russ Haus fur Medienkunst, DESolo
2015Rendez-vousBiennale de Lyon, Lyon, FRGroup
2015AftercinemaBeirut Art Center, LBGroup
2015Century of CenturiesSALT Istanbul, TRGroup
2015Group ExhibitionSandefjord Kunstpris, NO Group
2015Alternative ModernismsSoutheastern Center for Contemporary Art, USGroup
2015Lest The Two Seas MeetMuseum of Modern Arts Warsaw, PLGroup
2014Menace of OriginsSculpture Center, NYSolo
2014The Moving Museum IstanbulIstanbul, TR Group
2014The Jerusalem Show VIIAl Ma’mal Foundation, JerusalemGroup
2014Group ExhibitonHydrogenfabrikken Kunsthall, NOGroup
2014Vi Lever Pa et SterjneHenie Onstad Kunstsenter, NOGroup
2014Take LibertyThe National Museum of Contemporary Art, NOGroup
2014Re:VistedRiga Art Space, LVGroup
2014Meeting Points 7 CIC CairoParaSite Art Space Hong KongGroup
2013Jumana MannaCRG Gallery, NYSolo
2013The Goodness RegimeKunsthall Oslo, NOSolo
2013Jumana MannaKunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, DESolo
2013Performa13 BiennialNew York, USGroup
2013Bergen AssemblyBergen, NO Group
2013Meeting PointsMuKHA, Antwerp, BEGroup
2013Sharjah BiennaleSharjah, UAEGroup
2013The Mosaic RoomsQattan Foundation, UKGroup
2013Future RuinsGudbrandsdalen, NOGroup
2012Young Palestinian Artist AwardQattan Foundation, Ramallah, PAGroup
2012Nothing Forgotten Some Things ConsideredYoung Artists Society UKS, NOGroup
2012FRANK #1Oslo, NOGroup
2012Re.act.feminism #2Museet for Samtidskunst Roskilde, DKGroup
2012After School Special in LandmarkBergen Kunsthall, NOGroup
2012Far Too Near EastDOX Gallery, Prague, CZGroup
2012Midnight MoviesKurant, Tromso, NOGroup
2011Do We Surft the WakeConcorde, Los Angeles, USA Group
2011CalArts Plays itselfEssen, DE Group
2011Word PerfectNoplace, Oslo, NOGroup
2011Return of the LoosersKalmar Konstmuseum, SEGroup
2011Shesh BeshPetachTikva Museum, ILGroup
2011Fourth WallVOX Populi, Philadelphia, USAGroup
2011The Spring ExhibitionKunsthal Charlottenberg, Copenhagen, DKGroup
2011Situation as ObjectGallery D.O.R, Brussels, BEGroup
2011Group ExhibitionBirzeit Ethnographic and Art Museum, Ramallah, PAGroup