I enjoyed spending time with you and Peg and thank you for taking the time to visit with my students. They all enjoyed meeting you and we viewed your constructions after you left. The students found
them both striking and inspirational. One, a young woman who is just starting to develop a pretty high level of visual literacy in her collages, was especially taken with the work and has been visiting
your site a lot. As I mentioned this is a senior class and we talk a lot about the blurry lines separating image making and theory in both the fine and applied arts. Your recent work is particularly
appropriate to this discussion. Thanks!
Rajie Cook’s Ammo box, consisting of a NATO embossed munitions container filled with rocks, is the most provocative, contemporary, and pugilistic work on view. Positioned at the center of
the gallery space, it stands out like a cold, ironic indicator of our times. This is the type of conceptual work one might expect to find at the Pompidou in Paris; or perhaps even at the Armory.
Within the context of so personal and ingenuous an exhibit, its blunt sensorial impact feels inorganic, quarantined. Yet it succeeds in sculpting, in stone and steel, the iniquities of asymmetric
power and the empty promises of western nations supposedly staked in humanitarian concerns.
Rajie Cook’s “Ammo Box” provides an imposing reminder of the power disparity in Palestine. A huge NATO munitions box is full of rocks—the weapons of Palestinian resistance
that serve to highlight the massive military, political and economic aid provided to the Zionist occupation.
The work itself is quite varied, and not surprisingly, the most overtly political pieces tend to attract the most attention. One example is A Time to Cast Stones, an ammunition box that contains
stones, by Rajie Cook. A former graphic designer and the son of Palestinian parents, Cook uses stones, keys, and keffiyehs as visual shorthand for the Palestinian struggle. As you might expect from
someone who spent his career in advertising and corporate communications, each of his pieces packs an immediate message, and so he could be called the most activist of the artists on view.
Even if you don't politically agree with the sentiments he is expressing the work stands up on its own as intelligent, thoughtful and powerful.
Among the commanding, museum-quality works on display are political prisoner Zudhi al-Adawi’s Massacre Will Not Bring Our End; Rajie Cook’s Ammo Box: A Time to Cast Stones; Samia Halaby’s
Palestine: From the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River; John Halaka’s Stripped of their Identity, Driven from their Land; Emily Jacir’s Refugee Tent Memorial to Palestinian Villages
Destroyed, Depopulated and Occupied; and Mary Tuma’s Homes for the Disembodied.
in the past i have used this art form and it remains to me one of the most appealing of tools to use for expression. if i may, your design background imposes on your artistic intent. the
visual poetry in your work is suppressed with aesthetic solutions of balance, composition, etc. the images are "too clean" ...the content is anything but...looking at your work has
helped me resolve some of my own issues with assemblages. peace to you, for individual peace is all we can hope for.
I was thinking about you and found your website. Your art is very moving. I was not surprised that you continue to be an amazing communicator, and have taken your talent to the next
level. I hope you are well.
Hello, and thank you for sharing you work on the web. I am a box artist and gallery curator in Sacramento, California. Your work is moving and thought provoking. I will revisit your
site and look for more commentaries on your work.
It has always been a pleasure to speak with you in person. Each time I have come away with a feeling that something important has just happened.This experience has been magnified for me as I viewed
your work....You are even more of a visionary than I had previously thought... Thank you for sharing your creations with me and the world...Peace, Love, Light...
It's Justin from Newark Academy and I'd just like to thank you again for coming and speaking to us today. It is really a great show. I hope to see more of you and your work in the future. Thanks again.“I kept your name in my inbox... and often I reminded myself to look at your work. Today I have looked at all your boxes and watched the documentary on your work. I find the work very original and I think it deserves to be exhibited here in Palestine and Israel. Your work uses the elements of the conflict, but the way you position them together gives them a new power. I truly enjoyed looking at it. I wish I was a writer to describe what I feel in words, then again my language is photography. It was nice to hear you talk about your work and would like to meet you one day.”
“Love the site, especially the video. It's a rare treat to actually meet and get to know an artist; his thoughts, his manner and inspirations, but the video gives us a window into your personality which is very touching and direct. Great use of the medium.”
“I believe you have done a beautiful job of telling what is really happening in the Middle East.”
“I'm a graphic designer Pratt alumnus. Extremely impressed with artistic abilities.
“The website is a fantastic compilation of the great work you have done. Keep up the good work.”
“I have just viewed your Gallery and it is outstanding. This is a great expression of our struggle. My favorite was "No Forwarding Address".
“I just found your site. Your work is, as always, amazing. I still look forward to seeing your Christmas cards every year as they are always the most unique.”
“Some of the most effective pieces on view marry the tactics of contemporary art to realities of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”
“Powerful images. A women used to send letters to the editor protesting actions by the Jews against the Palestinians. A Jewish woman always responded with letters that showed how the Palestinians were wrong. I stopped printing their letters because there was no end.”
“Rajie Cook strikes echoes of Robert Smithson and Art Povera with "A Time to Cast Stones" (2003). A steel ammunition crate brimming with fist-sized stones, it evokes the disparities in weaponry between the parties to the territorial conflict. Its power flickers between the overtly topical and the aesthetic energy of the post-minimalist sculpture it calls to mind.”
“Creative, Heartfelt and wonderful!”
“I could live with your art – great!”
“Knowing you and your work for peace makes this a very special gallery.”
“Very moving and powerful work!”
“Very Creative… the wonderful mind at work.”
“I was deeply moved.”
“Very powerful pieces, I am very Impressed and would love to see more of your work.”
“Brings new meaning to everyday objects. Thought provoking.”
“Your ability to express your thoughts creatively is tremendous and moving.”
“Your creative imagination is infinite.”
“I just watched your video again. Wow. Very strong! It puts things in perspective with simplicity and a heart felt sincerity.”
“Beautiful, powerful and very moved by it.”
“Your work was viewed and apreciated by many, It was a pleasure to show such important and visually powerful artworks.”
“I just viewed your work.
“We both really like your work, We LOVED your piece with the hammer filled with nails, and the saw sawed into pieces--very clever, and deeply symbolic of the colonialist dysfunctional implosion going on today...”
“Palestine-in-a-box is a creative and a most touching expression of the Palestinian tragedy. Perfectly balanced between tangible demonstration of pain and dispossession of an entire people and celebrating their humanity and perseverance.
“Great website! We'll continue to visit it for new things.”
“You bring the spirit of human rights to those who wish to see and hear!”
“Such a privilege to see your work!”
“Great, a lot to think about!”
“Cornell would be proud.”
“Your work is both moving and thought provoking and your boxes tell the story of the complexity of Joseph Cornell himself!”
“Thank you for adding a powerful voice to better understanding the Palestinian experience.”
“My hope is that you continue to educate and illuminate world opinion with your wonderful presentation!”
“Wonderful! As a teacher in public high school, I have lots of ideas re: your work-thank you.”
“Your right-your boxes speak louder than words of the situation of a suppressed people. Thank you for making us aware of it.”
“Hello, This made me think, It made me think about things I normally don’t want to think about, things that bother "the perfect world". Thank you for sharing your feelings with other people in this BOX way.”
“A passionate expression.”
“We find your art very powerful. Hopefully it will awake the sleepy mind of the US!”
“A concept that makes me think!”
“What a powerful message you communicate!”
“Am so touched by your straight forward presentation of scenes which I saw first hand.”
Je vous connais depuis deux heures. L'une de vos oeuvres est
I just found your site, visited everything, and was indeed moved.
very impressed by your work aesthetically--and extremely impressed by your dedication to communicating strong, blunt messages which inspire a necessary call for peace and justice for humankind.
I realize that your positive heartfelt intent is not necessarily always easily relayed, popular, or accepted--and for that, I commend for you pushing forward. Thank you for all that you do.
The right to return is a very sensitive and emotional issue to me. I know many who held on to the keys of their homes for decades and may never get a chance to open their doors. Your
representation of the right to return is simply brilliant and would serve as a vivid reminder of the people living in diaspora.
Comments: I have been visiting your web site and I have found it moving and emotional. Very well done!
Your work is truly inspirational. Each box contains a story that cannot be retold enough. Thank you for the work you do. Janan –S.
I enjoyed your website very much. The video was amazing. Sometimes art is definitely enhanced by the artist’s statement, an aid in viewing. Refreshing to listen to an artist speaking directly
from heart and without a lot of pretensions hooey. Your work and your concepts are important.
i am studying graphic design and ur opinions and the way u perform is very important & meaningful fatifar
I think that this kind of art pieces, are very valuable because of the meaning of each one, and I am very interested in this kind of work, because in this country (El Salvador) is a very poor country
in all aspects, but most of all in arts, and I will like to changes this with some friends, i hope can make it true...
I come to your site whenever I feel hopeless. I live and breathe the horror of life in Palestine from afar (S.F. Bay Area). I try to go to every single thing I can find, every speaker, film, art show, all the Israeli peace/refusniks, I go to all. I hope to see a show of yours someday, though I did see the brilliant (too temporary) "Made in Palestine" show.
But my father was an artist, a political artist, and I am drawn to find my solace and to express my rage by viewing relevant artwork. Yours. Your boxes move me like none other. The Rachel Corrie bulldozer breaks my heart. Rock and Load and Home Sweet Home say all I am feeling. I come to your site when my outrage becomes too much to bear, when I cannot stop crying, cannot sleep, or when my mind bursts with scenes of vengeance and retribution. I look at your boxes and I SEE my rage expressed in simple, accessible form, beautifully and mournfully. And my rage recedes, because it is taken out of my interior and placed before my eyes artfully. I simply love your work, your reason, your loyalty to your people and the cause of justice.
I want to make some boxes too. Not high crafted, museum quality, but some that will express my own despair and helplessness. I want to make something that will outlast my rapidly deteriorating body and life. I want to say something passionate and purposeful about the horror of this inequity. I don't know where to start, but I know I must. Thank you so much for helping show the way, for your non-violent expressions against the ultimate violence. And God Bless the Palestinian people for they are showing the world absolute strength, resistance and what women immovable and unbendable will do to defend their families and their land. They are most beautiful to me. sincerely, Nancy Rowe
Your work is truely inspirational. Each box contains a story that cannot be retold enough. Thank you for the work you do.
Hello. My grandmother Saham Z gave me your name to look you up. I love that your speaking through your art and letting people know about whats actually going on, not as if they dont know but you
put it in a whole new light. Your are a new inspiration to me now and i thank you for that. I allways wanted to do some art that reflected what is happening to the Palestinian Population. I have
one painting that reflects the horrors of war in a very subtle way. I look forward to being in contact with you and learning from you as much as i can wether it be through email or if i come and
see you sometime. I am currently in NYIT on Long Island in the Graphic Arts program. I didnt get much into the computer programs yet but i have been an artist my whole life and I will be graduating
in about a year. I just wanted to say hello and thank you because your work is very brave and very compeling and it tells a story, its a snapshot in time. Hope to hear from you soon.
-- you "mince words" less and less in your imagery which must reflect your ever-growing sense of outrage. How can we install this just outside Condi's door?
Hello Rajie, I just checked your web site out. It is beautiful. Great design and also a lot of information! I understand your art better now after watching the video. It was great to meet your at
the Venezuelan Embassy together with Clark and James. Hope to meet you again!
Interesting to run into you recently at the Golden Nugget in Lambertville, as we never had a chance to meet or work together when you had the design business in Princeton. I did, however; have the
opportunity to see more of your personal work which is deeply moving. It was a pleasure,
Hello Mr.Cook, I can't believe I ran into you at the flea market yesterday. My father used to speak of you all the time. Looking through your website - I can see why. I knew you were an extraordinary
graphic designer but, had no idea that you were such a talented fine artist. Dad was touched by your passion, intellect and sense of humanity. It was an honor to see you again.
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