The Public Outreach Program aims to promote Palestinian contemporary culture and life through creative encounters that target primarily the younger generation of artists and performers. It is a platform to showcase young talent in music, art, literature and cinema, as well as presenting a rich program of talks and performances about the city and its history, interpolated by an assortment of culinary activities involving local chefs and non-professional members of the community. Artists, writers, historians, musicians and performers are invited to give public performances including talks, discussions, readings, shows and film screenings with the aim to bring together community members and creative individuals in a shared space for experimentation, entertainment and free expression.

Traces

Rula Halawani

May 19th - June 21, 2007

"Traces" is a documentation of the environment that surrounds the separation Wall. The project captures the transformation of the soil, nature and stone into a massive concrete construction. The wall is like a monster that consumes and devours everything around it, leaving traces of cruel destruction and transforming the environment into a landscape of fear, dissolution and imprisonment.  

"I started documenting the separation Wall almost from when they started building it, but each time I developed the pictures all that showed was its ugliness and my anger. Then the wall reached Qalandia checkpoint. They started building it right in the middle of the road, my road to work. I always fantasized that one day we would plant trees in the middle of that road. Once it reached Qalandia, the wall reached me and found my fear. They put down the foundations, stopped for a while and then they put it up block by block along the middle of the road.

I wanted to photograph it at night. Maybe to let it know I wasn’t scared. I went. The wall was so ugly, the land sad and scarred. There were only soldiers, heavy machines and the sound of dogs barking. I was terrified and desolate. I took the photographs during the day, but the memory of that night was in them.

After I finished the project, one night and without knowing why, I suddenly felt I needed to go and see the wall. It was the Jewish New Year. It was almost midnight but I jumped in my car and went back. I drove all along the wall and arrived back at my first night there, at the place with the heavy machines and barking dogs. They were all locked up. I enjoyed the scene. I returned home through the Mount of Olives, where I first stepped foot on this earth, my earth. I got out and looked and made a promise, a promise to my Land." - Original text in English by the artist. 

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Rula Halawani was born in East Jerusalem in 1964 and obtained her BA in Advanced Photography from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada (1989) and her MA in Photographic Studies from the University of Westminster, London (2001). She currently lives and works in Jerusalem as a photographer and educator. In addition to photography, Halawani founded the Photography program at Birzeit University.