Passages to Freedom
Gates Within Gates
Limited Edition of 14/50
60 x 44 cm (Image Size)
62 X 82 cm (Print Size)
Signed and Numbered
I believe that one of the roles of contemporary artists is to record the signs of their times. For the past four years, and since the beginning of the INTIFADA the Palestinian uprising, I have been searching for the method and medium with which to record the raw dialogue appearing on the walls of Gaza, between the Palestinian different factions, and between the Palestinians and their Israeli occupiers.
The dialogue on the walls of Gaza is a method of communication resorted to by Palestinians. Very different from Graffitti known in the West, and in the absence of any mode of communication, completely banned by the Israelis such as newspapers or TV, It became the only method of self-expression and communication left to them during a ruthless and destructive occupation indifferently observed and ignored by 'the civilized world', still in place to date.
I chose photography as my medium in order to give true dimension to the constant changes of this dialogue and it spontaneous form of calligraphy, which disappeared daily and was replaced by new messages by nightfall, and to capture the ever changing textures of the walls with their impasto of spray paint, whitewash and tar, which were applied alternately by all sides of the divide.
I also wished to convey the urgency of the messages which would be painted over almost as quickly as they appeared. Only through photography could these moments in time be caught and frozen. To print my photographs I used silkscreen and off-set lithography on both raw canvas and paper. As background I incorporated geometric shapes as colour filters. The geometric shapes carry mathematical and immutable truths, and as colour filters they reduce the impact of the image or emphasise a point They are also a suggestion of a sense of order that I hope might eventually prevail in a chaotic and torn country and lead to the long lost dream of ending the occupation of Palestine.
PS: The Israeli army participated in the dialogue by spraying with tar US dollar signs on some walls ( see The Sponsors), painting some in purple paint (Letter to a Mother) and whitewashing walls when they failed to force the population in Gaza to do so .Generally when someone was caught spray painting they were shot or taken to prison... The colours of the Palestinian flag were banned by the Israelis, and so spray paint was mainly in black!! After the IDF left the Gaza strip, the writings on the walls became graffiti in the real sense of the word... lots of colours and a great effort in writing appeared on the walls of Gaza.