Adonis Diaries

Archive for April 15th, 2014

Lives of Palestinians in pictures

If you are considering a visit to Palestine and had never traveled there before, you need not imagine that going there is quite dangerous.

In the mainstream media, images of conflict permeate, along with the tragedy that is expressed afterwards.

While it may be interpreted as a melancholy environment, where an endless dissension between two people groups continues, there is still the spirit of life.

One that each human participates in, whether in an conflicted area or not.

East-Jerusalem based photographer Tanya Habjouqa has focused her work on photographing the Palestinian communities of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

She captures a way of life that is not always seen by the public eye. Her series is titled “Occupied Pleasures,” and displays the Palestinian community enjoying the pleasures of life as any person would.

 posted this April 8, 2014

The Rarely-Seen Lives of Palestinians

Photographed by Tanya Habjouqa

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Teenage girls try on dresses for an upcoming dance at their private school in Ramallah.

Bodybuilders in Gaza show off the results of their work.

The images are striking yet simple and garnered her a World Press Photo award. Regarding the Occupied Pleasures work, Habjouqa says:

More than 4 million Palestinians live in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, where the political situation regularly intrudes upon the most mundane of moments. Movement is circumscribed and threat of violence often hangs overhead.

This creates the strongest of desires for the smallest of pleasures, and a sharp sense of humor about the absurdities that a 47-year occupation has produced.

This is an exploration of the moments where ordinary men and women demonstrate a desire to live, not just simply survive.

A family and friends play cards on the roof in the Dheisheh Refugee Camp of Bethlehem

A yoga class in the outskirts of Bethlehem in the village of  Zataara.

Students from the  Al-Quds University javelin team finish up one last practice before the summer holiday begins.

A few boys enjoy a cool break from the heat in a small kiddie pool in the West Bank village of Kufr Ni’ma.

Two young women enjoy the view on the way up to the “Mount of Temptation” in a cable car in Jericho.

Young men enjoy some shisha in the natural setting of Ein Qiniya. A few Israeli settlements are nearby.

On the way to the Eid Celebration, a man enjoys a cigarette on the last day of Ramadan in the West Bank.

Some women model at the Intercontinental Bethlehem for upcoming designer Nadya Hazbunova.

The Gaza Parkour team practices in a cemetery on the outskirts of their refugee camp in Khan Younis, Gaza.
palestine parkhour

After final high school examinations, youth in Gaza flock to the sea and to the fun fair to let off steam
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Two furniture makers take a break in a pair of plush armchairs (of their creation) in the open-air in Hizma, against Israel’s 26-foot high Separation Wall.
palestine pleaure

14 year old Sabah Abu Ghanim, Gaza’s famous girl surfer, waits to catch a wave
palestine surfing

A young fiancee goes wedding dress shopping in Gaza. Her future husband is working in Libya, where she hopes to join him.
palestine wedding

A mobile toy store van cruises along the Gaza beach highway.

A young boy takes his donkey for a swim, and attempts to get him out near Gaza’s Deir al-Balah refugee camp.
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A family enjoys a picnic in Ein Qiniya, the nearest nature spot for families in Ramallah
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via featureshoot

Shawn Saleme is a full time writer for Visual News.

Having traveled to over 45 countries, his international escapades continue to influence his writing and perspective. When not in a foreign territory, he makes his home in his native San Francisco Bay Area. Become friends with him on Facebook and invite him to share drinks and stories with you.



No face, No name female victims of car accidents in Saudi Arabia. 

Are Solo Shows any fun?  And Artist Manal Al DOWAYAN

Saudi artist Manal Al Dowayan’s latest exhibition, “Crash”, which opened the first day of Art Week this year, goes against the grain of what we expect to see at a DIFC opening during Art Dubai. But this is precisely Manal Al Dowayan. 

 posted this April 14, 2014


Manal Al Dowayan And Her Recent Solo Show “Crash”
Manal Al Dowayan is a strong character and has a distinct voice. She is a fierce fighter for the ongoing struggle by women for equality and uses her art as a form of protest against Saudi Arabia’s strict religiously-inspired traditions.
In addition to challenging the status quo, “Crash” goes a step further and challenges the basic definition of what art is by presenting the research process as the work itself.

“And my voice must be hushed so as not to offend. So what will remain of me?”

corinnemartin_manaldowayan 3

Al-Dowayan grew up in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia on an Aramco compound.

The compound was a removed and Westernized environment and once she left its confines she was faced with the truth about women within Saudi society.

The women she saw were controlled, passive, and expected to behave within the confines of their marital chores and duties. Through her art, she delves deep behind the veil which wraps itself around these women and suggests an alternative.

“My name is being erased because of the shame of pronouncing it publicly”

In her most popular series I Am, Al-Dowayan is influenced by the feminist photography of Cindy Sherman and Shirin Neshat where she explores the roles of women in Saudi society, from journalists and doctors to United Nations officers and petroleum engineers.

Al-Dowayan also uses participatory projects such as Esmi (My Name), where she presents a collection of giant rosaries with women’s names written on each bead, inscribed by Saudi women who chose to take part in the artwork, as a platform to involve women in her community to take part in her art and its vision.

“I care about transmitting the message contained in my work as much as I care about the aesthetic,” she says.

corinnemartin_manaldowayan 2

Al-Dowayan’s latest research-based artwork exhibition, Crash, brings to light the disturbing number of car accidents in Saudi Arabia in which female teachers are injured or killed.

For these women, the combination of low pay, a ban on driving, and unsafe roads and drivers, has created a highly dangerous and unstable situation.The accidents are regularly reported in Saudi newspapers, but because of Saudi tradition the names of the women are never revealed. Their faces are never seen and their names are not mentioned.

“These women are poorly paid, banned from driving and assigned to teach in remote areas far away from their homes. This forces them to pool funds and travel in groups. But the long distances, unsafe roads and the bad drivers they have to rely on become the cause of many accidents. In the newspaper reports of these accidents, there is no trace of the identity of the victims.

corinnemartin_manaldowayan 9

People cannot mourn for victims who have no face or name, so this repeated reportage of anonymous crash victims just makes them numb towards the situation. I want to change the way society reacts to this grave situation by presenting the human stories behind the crashes,” Al Dowayan says.

The artworks on display present information on the crashes through newspaper clippings, along with Al-Dowayan’s own notes which give details of the crash. She also displays tweets from the women prior to the accident.

In one area of the exhibition, a series of framed road maps are presented with three data points marked by three simple pins. The locations marked on the maps were the teacher’s homes, the schools to which they were assigned, and the crash sites. These maps bring to light the long distances the women had to travel and the risks they were forced to take.

The irony here is how the Saudi government commissioned expert engineers to create these maps which were then used by Manal to plot this archaic cultural atrocity.

The artist asks, “How do you mourn if the suffering have no face or name?”

corinnemartin_manaldowayan 4

In Crash, Al-Dowayan challenges us to be conscious of the images shown to us in the media by purposely presenting the information stripped of aesthetics and displayed matter-of-factly. Al-Dowayan then makes the emotional impact of these tragedies percievable by displaying tweets sent by the women before the accidents, along with a very touching video with narrations in first person of the stories of the victims.

The videos show the victims as young women with hopes and aspirations, casually sharing their problems and joys, and describing the simple mundane events of their day up to the moment of the crashes which abruptly took their lives.

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