Al Mintar

Al Mintar
Artworks / Installation works
Date made 2019
Artist / Maker Sliman Mansour

Al-Mintar stands prominently as one of the most important commissioned works in the gardens of the Palestinian Museum. Recently completed by the Palestinian artist Sliman Mansour, it was commissioned in line with the Museum’s goal of nurturing our connection with the architectural heritage of Palestine. This work simulates the idea of reviving the construction of mintars, or what used to be described as ‘farm palaces’, scattered across the Palestinian countryside. It resuscitates the processes and stories surrounding their construction, given the centrality they once held in regards to Palestinian agricultural life. As with other forms of traditional architecture, mintars face the threat of extinction because of both rapid urban expansion, and the growing gap between the generations that used these buildings and those who see them without knowing what they are. Left to their neglected and isolated existence, there are few today who care to know what a mintar was used for and how one is built. At this rate, it would come as no surprise if, in the coming years, such knowledge is buried with the last of those who remember, leaving these fascinating structures to a fate of demolition and oblivion. As such, beyond the artistic merit of embracing such an artwork, is the importance of the educational role it can play. It is for these reasons that the Palestinian Museum committed to the necessity of reviving this architectural form by constructing a living model and exact replica of the kinds of mintars one can still find in different parts of the Palestinian countryside: a mintar of the circular conical form topped by a ‘arish (belvedere). It was of central importance that the mintar be built in the traditional fashion, with natural stones similar to those used in the construction of hillside terraces. This work takes on a particular importance, in terms of not only the idea behind it and its architectural design, but in terms of the manner in which the construction was carried out. Moreover, the work bears a particular emotional value that links the artist to his memories of the mintar embedded in the Palestinian landscape, a landscape that has had an indelible presence in a variety of forms in works produced throughout the artist’s career. Al-Mintar, 2019. Natural flintstone. 

Object details

Natural flintstone
3.50 x 6.60 m
Commissioned for
"Intimate Terrains" exhibition