The Wall and the Check Points pictured by Palestinian artists | babelmed
The Wall and the Check Points pictured by Palestinian artists Print
The Wall and the Check Points pictured by Palestinian artists | babelmed
Darat El Funun Foundation, in Jordan, organises a multidisciplinary exhibition presenting installations works, photographs, video-art and a documentary by Palestinian artists around the theme of the Check points and the Wall. Places of movements but also symbols of Israeli control, the images of Check points and the wall go far beyond the description of Palestinian daily sufferings. They speak about the immense misunderstanding of a society unable to find a solution for a peaceful cohabitation.

Where We Come From by Emily Jacir
The 32 photos and 30 framed texts exhibition “Where We Come From" by Emily Jacir is based on her own “freedom of movement". Jacir holds an American passport, “a document which allows me this basic human right. I utilized my passport to access Palestine for Palestinians who are prohibited entry into their own homeland and/or who are restricted movement within it. The question we are always asked at the borders: "Did someone give you something to carry?" was also an inspiration for this piece.” She took inspiration from her personal experience, from the “constant back and forth between Palestine and whatever country I happen to be residing in at the moment. My parents themselves do not have the access I have to our own country. They cannot leave the boundaries of Bethlehem because their I.D. cards place them there.”, the return home “each time we made our way back home in the 70's, 80's, and 90's, we witnessed the unrelenting proliferation of settlements, checkpoints/borders, and the calculated fragmentation of our people and our lands into smaller and smaller spaces. Israel has divided us into unnatural fragments based on our identity cards such as East Jerusalemites, West Bankers, Gazans, Israelis, Jordanians, Americans, and so forth.”
For Jacir the violence of what she has seen as no equivalent in Palestinian history “Israel has implemented some of the most draconian and violent military tactics in history to prevent Palestinians from entry into their own homeland as well as the ability to move freely within it. No Palestinian can move freely within the West Bank or Gaza. Measures such as checkpoint/borders, barbed wire, tanks, and soldiers with M-16's have encircled every town and village. Palestinians are killed trying to cross these borders. Those that do have the ability to move are subjected to the worst forms of humiliation at every crossing in an effort to discourage people from entering or moving around the country. These measures have been implemented and designed to fragment and destroy the fabric of our entire people. The situation is now so extreme that going to Jerusalem is as impossible a dream for a Palestinian in Syria as for a Palestinian living 8 kilometres away in Beit Jalla.”

“Crossing Surda, a record of going to and from work” by Emily Jacir
A video documenting the always longer walks Palestinians have to do for any of their displacements. Emily Jacir, have been filming her feet during her daily walks across the Surda checkpoint to Birzeit University “all people including the disabled, elderly, and children must walk distances as far as two kilometers depending on the decisions of the Israeli army at any given time. When Israeli soldiers decide that there should be no movement on the road, they shoot live ammunition, tear gas, and sound bombs to disperse people from the checkpoint.?” (Emily Jacir 2003)
The Wall and the Check Points pictured by Palestinian artists | babelmed
Rula Halawani, Ugliness and Promise
Rula Halawani started documenting the 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 I do not know why but 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.”
The Wall and the Check Points pictured by Palestinian artists | babelmed
Tarek Al-Ghoussein
Untitled & Self Portrait Series, by Tarek Al-Ghoussein
Media representations that picture Palestinians as terrorists reminds Tarek Al-Ghoussein of the Sisyphus myth: “the Self Portrait series represents a commentary on contemporary Western media representations of the Palestinian as terrorist. This project started as a result of my growing frustration with the way in which the Palestinians and other Arabs were being represented and, in some cases, misrepresented in Western Media. In addition, I was drawn to the apparent similarities between the Myth of Sisyphus and what can be characterized as the growing “myth” generated through the Western media, specifically the myth that all Palestinians are terrorists and that the Palestinian intifada, like Sisyphus, seems condemned to an endless cyclic struggle. Transcending media representations has been an ongoing “uphill battle” for Palestinians and all Arabs.
In The “Untitled” A and B series are both concerned with barriers, land, longing and, ultimately, belonging. It is an extension of themes I have been exploring for the past few years. During the process leading to these images, it became increasingly clear to me how barriers, land, longing, and “identity” inform, shape and define each other.

The term “identity” is highly contested and can be taken to mean many things depending on the context. Nevertheless, there has been widespread agreement that significant aspects of identity are related to a particular place; hence, national identity results from connections to an individual’s country of origin.
As I attempt to come to terms with the issues related to my personal experience as a Palestinian-Kuwaiti that has never lived within the borders of Palestine, it has become apparent that this current body of work seeks to transcend the obvious reference to the barrier being constructed in Palestine. The “walls” and “mounds” that appear throughout the images also speak of my own individual struggles irrespective of the conventional notions of national identity.”

Borders Crossing Bodies
“At a time when the Road Map is being redefined by walls, barriers, and destruction, the human body and mind is altered to adapt to the various borders crossing through it.” Says Architect and photographer Dana Erekat, who produced the work “how to cross a border”. She walked amidst refugee camps, “with camera in hand children run around and through me. I am Palestinian American. I am them; I am not. I too understand and inhabit the conflicted location of home and the West. “Why aren’t you covered,” asks a 4 year old girl; it won’t be long before I am told that “smoking is a sin in Islam,” by a 9 year old boy standing next to me. I grin at his comment witnessing the birth of fundamentalism amidst colonization.

A mother waits at a checkpoint in Jericho, in her waiting she coddles an infant, motherhood an act of defiance in the midst of colonization. She too traverses the imprecated path of tradition and resistance while garbed in the traditional veil. She negotiates her space between the harem and the streets, between the physical and the traditional barriers, between the threat of insanity confinement and the threat of a soldier’s bullet; waiting to cross.” Babelmed editorial team