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Can We Live?

15 November 202310 December 2023

For Lost Species Day 2023, O N C A offers space to explore the ways in which extractivism and colonialism drive and depend on heinous erasures of cultures, species, ways of life, and ecological communities. Lost Species Day, November 30, is a yearly opportunity to counter mainstream narratives around ‘progress’ and ‘development’ through grassroots storytelling, community connection, celebrating and visioning alternative ways of seeing, feeling and being.

Lost Species Day takes place this year in the context of devastating colonial violence and civilian bloodshed in Israel and Palestine, as well as ongoing armed conflicts in many other places. The giants behind these brutalities are the military-industrial complex: arms manufacturers, extractivist industries and fossil fuels, states, politicians and corporations vying for control of the Earth’s resources at any cost. The flames of this violence consume and kill the most vulnerable people, along with the places, ecological communities and webs of life they call home.

We dedicate the Lost Species Day window exhibition to a call for a ceasefire in Palestine now. 

The olive tree symbolises the connection of families and livelihoods to the earth – olive trees are at the centre of webs of interdependence, and the violence against them prefigures, enables and echoes the killing of Palestinian people. The systematic destruction of Palestinian olive groves to attack Palestinian food sovereignty and economic autonomy is an example of the kind of colonial violence that Lost Species Day exists to highlight and protest. We invite you to continue learning here

The words on the wall are from the first verse of ‘Victim #18’, a poem by Mahmoud Darwish.  

Translated from Arabic by B.M. Bennani. New York: The Greenfield Review Press, 1974

©Mahmoud Darwish Foundation

About the artist

Mahmoud Darwish (Arabic: مَحمُود دَرْوِيْش, romanized: Maḥmūd Darwīsh, 13 March 1941 – 9 August 2008) was a Palestinian poet and author who was regarded as Palestine’s national poet. Darwish won numerous awards for his works. He used Palestine as a metaphor for the loss of Eden, birth and resurrection, and the anguish of dispossession and exile.


15 November 2023
10 December 2023
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