More than 67 Palestinian women were forced to give birth at checkpoints between 2000 and 2005. Comprehensive closures during the Second Intifada (2001) resulted in complete prohibitions on Palestinian movement into Israel, and between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. These restrictions remain until this day and Israel stands behind this policy by arguing that it is necessary to protect its citizens.
This project explores a series of births that took place at checkpoints by pairing portraits with relevant belongings of the subjects involved. Whether it is a premature death certificate or clothes prepared for a child that were never worn, these elements were inanimate witnesses to an otherwise undocumented event. They aim to introduce personal narratives by taking the viewer into images beyond what is usually seen, inviting them to explore stories through their secondary characters. The project is an intersection of memory, loss, grief, and a sad truth that all that remains from these tragedies are mere objects that bear witness to a slowly fading history.
Carnage of the Orientalist Vision: An imaginary reality in contemporary photojournalism. It is common for award-winning images from the Arab world to carry a similar feel to that of the 19th-century Orientalist paintings, where the Orient is represented as mystical, faraway lands. Often these images portray a region with picturesque yet dramatic scenery. A region plagued by taboos, where veils and mashrabiyas hide a domestic sphere destined to remain misunderstood. An indirect visual language struggles to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Many paintings created by European artists of the 19th and early 20th centuries depict Arab women as being exotic belly dancers in palaces and harems. In reality, these images were merely Orientalist fantasies of Western colonisers who could not gain access to the private spaces of Arab women. Sadly, this stereotype continues to dominate one way in which the Arab world is represented. Exotic, backward, uncivilised and dangerous. On the other hand, the lack of access to the Arab domestic sphere has also fuelled the victimisation of Arab women, who are often represented as inferior. They are shown to be the weak victims of Arab culture, oppressed by patriarchal Arab men and in desperate need of Western intervention. This body work does not intend to claim that the Arab region does not suffer from gender-related issues and inequalities, but to stress the importance of differentiating between works that reflect reality, and bias representations which limit our understanding of the region. Inspired by Edward Said's book Orientalism, “Not Your Harem” aims to recreate the scenes in which women are commonly misrepresented and instead show them within their domestic sphere, going about their day to day activities.
Confessions of Palestinian Children Imprisoned by Israel
Detained: Confessions of Palestinian Children Imprisoned by Israel uncovers one of the most painful experiences that Palestinian children have to endure due to the ongoing Israeli occupation. Through interviews with ex-detainees and mothers of present detainees, the project documents their stories and aims to lend a voice to those who are silenced by fear of negative repercussions.
Over the past 11 years, according to Defence for Children International, around 7500 children have been detained in Israeli prisons and detention centres. Muhammad Daoud Dirbasnis, controversially arrested at the age of six, is the youngest child to have been detained by Israeli soldiers. Such detainment is globally considered illegal under international law, along with other policies that children are subjected to, such as solitary confinement.
The project aims to raise awareness about violations committed against Palestinian children and open a discussion regarding universal children's rights by uncovering the confessions of children and mothers of children who have been victims of these infringements.
Dates, names and places have been changed in order to protect the children's identities.
A visual project combining photography and interviews in search of answers to questions regarding the life, status and situation of today’s women in Palestine.
This project seeks not just to break, but to also replace the stereotypical image so often portrayed of Palestinian women in the western press.
The project will rely on facts, figures, and true stories in hope of shedding a light on a very important situation which till yet has not received the proper attention.
Before the Wall is an ongoing project that aims to portray the last generation of Palestinians born before the completion of the Israeli apartheid wall. These images serve as a sombre reminder of the brutal reality in which these subjects live, imprisoned by an oppressive wall that extends over 700 kilometres and towers up to 8 metres in height.
Approximately 62.1% of the wall is complete, a further 8% is under construction and 29.9% is planned but not yet constructed. The children, youths and expecting mothers photographed in the project were placed in those areas where construction is still taking place, but where its imminent completion is clear. Not only do they represent the last generation before the wall is finished, but they physically stand before it, as victims in silent protest.
Palestinian children are severely affected by the ongoing occupation and its policies. Travel restrictions and lack of access to medical supplies impact their physical and mental well-being. They live under constant threat of Israeli attacks and even their most basic rights, including that to education, health and leisure, are violated on a daily basis. The majority of Palestinian children have been exposed to indirect violence in the form of detonations, firearm shots, tear gas, mobilisation with armed vehicles and strictly-imposed curfews. They are constantly exposed to a visually aggressive environment where checkpoints, heavily-armed soldiers and most-recently the apartheid wall, are being normalised as natural elements of the Palestinian landscape.
A study by the Adler Research Center in Israel about the influence of violence on Palestinian children, stated that 70% of Palestinian children in the West Bank have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder. Another study, done by the Gaza Community Mental Health Program, found that 94.6% of Palestinian children have witnessed shocking incidents like bombing and murder. Unfortunately, the majority of Palestinian children do not have access to professional mental health support and remain imprisoned within the open-air prisons that are the West Bank and Gaza.
The barrier, or the ever-shrinking gap, is the natural backdrop to life under occupation. Perspective and perception of the wall play a crucial role in the psychology of its implementation. In Before the Wall, it is a giant chain. It is both a spatial and temporal analysis, through photography, of the impact this wall is having. This relationship between subject and circumstance brings into perspective the rupture in time and geography that will be caused by its completion. A wall and what will be left behind it and before it.
Hush is a project that maps the various stories of a group of Palestinian women, each of whom-for one reason or another-became a victim of gender-based violence and was consequently placed in a shelter or a so-called safe house.
The project has the clear objective of using the photographic medium in an attempt to portray the distorted image people have of gender-based violence and its victims. The final outcome of the project clearly denounces the violence and harsh circumstances these women have to live in and creates a platform for the victims to make their voices heard.
"He used to undress me, tie a rope around my neck and then rape me. It became harder every time, as I knew what was to come. I could feel the burn and pain between my legs before he would rape me. I hate my brother."
Abeer might have escaped her violent and abusive brother after long years of suffering, but an even harsher reality was yet to come. As she marks her fifth year at the Women's Shelter in Palestine, Abeer is subject to yet more abuse, this time from society. "People talk badly about the shelter. They spread rumours claiming that there are prostitutes inside. Sometimes they even don't hesitate to call it a whorehouse." Abeer cannot leave the shelter. She is still at risk of her brother seeking revenge and carrying out a so-called honour killing. Marriage could be a way out of the shelter for her, but even that will prove a struggle as very few men want to marry a woman who is not a virgin, especially if she is a shelter girl.
Abeer's situation worsens with the Israeli Occupation, as travel restrictions are imposed on Palestinians by Israel, reducing her chances of seeking shelter abroad. Gender-based violence remains a taboo in Palestinian society as most of the attention is given to political and military issues while little time and energy are left for what they dismiss as mere domestic disputes.
Through this project, victims like Abeer are calling out to help raise awareness and present this problem to the public. At no point does the project intend to present them and their stories as cultural dupes. It intends to reflect their everyday life, convey their concerns, the way in which their options have been limited by systemic power and the strategies they themselves have developed to deal with their situations.