Al Ma'mal Foundation for Contemporary Art

Al Ma'mal is a non-profit organization founded to promote, instigate, disseminate and create art. Founded in 1997, Al Ma'mal serves as an advocate for contemporary art and a catalyst for the realization of art projects in Jerusalem, inviting artists to the city to develop, produce and present their work to the public. Through our main programs, Artist-in-Residency, Public Outreach Program, Education Program, The Jerusalem Show, and the Contemporary Art Museum - Palestine (CAMP), we provide a medium and a channel through which we try to contribute towards the activation of cultural dynamics within society, giving art more possibilities to become a mode of expression and a way of life. Al Ma'mal is determined to make Jerusalem a centre for contemporary art in spite of the situation on the ground and in honor of Jerusalem's own enduring qualities as a complex, culturally rich, ageless city.

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Tile Factory - Historic Profile

Khalil Kassissieh, a highly skilled mason, constructed the original tile factory in 1900, later deciding to move into the lower floor of the building with his family. The building was part of a two-story complex that was partially demolished in 1870 to widen the Latin Patriarchate Street and is part of a compound that is clearly visible in the maps of the Old City since the second half of the 19th century. 

Between 1935-1940 the factory's industrial activity expanded and the entire building was devoted to tile production; the lower floor where the family had lived was transformed into factory space and new rooms were added to the upper floors. At that time, the factory produced tiles for West and East Jerusalem in addition to many other cities across Palestine and Jordan. It had 15 workers in total and was famous for the high quality and relatively low prices of its products. Conserving the traditional handmade production methods it employed was thus considered highly important, and the decision was made not to use any automatic machinery at the factory and continue importing colored cement from Italy. The fame of the tile factory grew, with its most successful product being its expertly manufactured carpet tiles. 

After 1967, competition led to a decline in production at the factory; new industrial methods of production and increased difficulty in getting the raw materials (traditionally delivered by donkeys) to the factory in the Old City made the work of the factory more and more difficult. The final straw was the Municipality's withdrawal of its permission to use the building as a factory, which was based on the decision that the entire Old City was 'no place for factories'. The tile factory was eventually closed in 1973, by which point only six or seven workers were employed.