Chapter IX, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I–XVIII
Chapter IX, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I–XVIII
Chapter IX, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I–XVIII

Excerpt from Annotation Panel, Chapter IX, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I-XVIII:

Leila Khaled (1), a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), hijacked her first plane on August 29, 1969. After several plastic surgeries to alter her appearance, Khaled was involved in a coordinated series of hijackings in 1970 known as the Dawson’s Field hijackings.

Khaled was born in Haifa, but she and her family were displaced in 1948 as a result of the Arab–Israeli War and relocated to a refugee camp in Tyre, Lebanon. She joined the Arab Nationalist Movement and committed to fulltime armed struggle at the age of fifteen. At the time of the hijackings, Khaled demanded the release of all Palestinian and Arab prisoners in Israel. Through her work with the PFLP, her demands include a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, the withdrawal of Israel from the land it has occupied since 1967, and the right to self-determination.

The first woman to hijack an aircraft, Khaled, along with her partner Salim Issawi, commandeered TWA flight 840 from Rome to Tel Aviv, armed with grenades and handguns. The plane was diverted to Damascus where the hostages were directed to disembark before the aircraft’s cockpit was blown up. This hijacking led to the release of Palestinian political prisoners in exchange for Israeli hostages and made Khaled a celebrated figure of Palestinian militancy.

Changes made to her nose and chin allowed Khaled to avoid detection and board El Al flight 219 from Amsterdam to New York for her second hijacking attempt. She boarded the plane with
Nicaraguan PFLP member Patrick Arguello, two passports from Honduras, and grenades in her pockets. Khaled and Arguello attempted to storm the cockpit, but the pilot reportedly put the plane
into a steep nosedive to throw them off balance. Arguello was shot dead by plainclothes armed guards aboard the El Al plane, and Khaled was captured. The aircraft made an emergency landing at
London’s Heathrow Airport. Khaled was arrested and held at Ealing police station for twenty-eight days before Prime Minister Edward Heath released her in a bitterly opposed exchange for hostages
held by the PFLP.

About Taryn Simon

Conceptual artist Taryn Simon’s photographs and accompanied writing are the result of a long process of research and investigation. For her 2011 work A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters, produced over a four-year period, Simon traveled around the world collecting stories and images that mapped the relationships among chance, blood, and other components of fate. Her work Contraband (2010) presented 1,075 images of items that were detained or seized from passengers and mail entering the United States from abroad. An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar (2007), revealed objects, sites, and spaces that are integral to America's foundation or daily functioning but remain inaccessible or unknown to the public audience, including a nuclear waste storage facility, a braille edition of Playboy, and the art collection of the CIA. Equally concerned with formalism and realism, Simon seeks seductive images of inaccessible and unrecognized, but symbolic, subjects, and maintains a diverse practice that extends to film, sculpture, and performance.

American, b. 1975, New York, New York, based in New York, New York

Solo Shows on Artsy

Paperwork and the Will of Capital, Almine Rech, Brussels
Taryn Simon: Birds of the West Indies, Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills
Taryn Simon: Black Square, Gagosian Gallery, Athens
Taryn Simon: Contraband, Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills

Group Shows on Artsy

Installment 1: Inaugural Exhibition, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris

Fair History on Artsy