Monday
14. October
at 18.00
Galerija Janez Boljka (Janez Boljka Art Gallery) - Gornji trg 16, Ljubljana

Cultural Embassy of Palestine: THE SEEDS OF THE PALESTINIAN FUTURE

Opening of the exhibition


Photographic exhibition: The Seeds of Palestinian Future
The authors of the exhibition are the photographer Bojan Brecelj and the anthropologist Barbara Vodopivec. In this project Bojan Brecelj employs the selfportraiting technique Selffish Studio.


THE SEEDS OF THE PALESTINIAN FUTURE

How do young people in Palestine see themselves? How do they live their lives, what do they dream about and what are their hopes for the future? With this book we try to give a glimpse into the way young people in Palestine think about these questions. This is not a research about Palestinian youth or a holistic representation of their lives. Rather, it is an art project, a mosaic of images and a story about the way they understand themselves and the place and time in which they live.

Through the use of self-portrait photography and short interviews we hope to capture young people’s voices, particularly their experience and expression of a personal and collective identity. The portraits, which always place an individual against his or her background, explore identity from a very intimate, individual perspective but always in relation to the broader environment. Personal and collective identities are closely interconnected and in the narrative of the young people, the harsh political and economic situation further intertwines the two. When young people talk about their own lives they also talk about Palestine. When they describe their home they also describe their country. In their narrative Palestine is not something abstract but what they experience and express through their daily life – through work, dance, sport, studies, art, architecture, friendship, family. As many emphasize, due to the struggle for freedom and justice, Palestine is in everything they do. This means that personal dreams are impossible to separate from the hopes and aspiration for a Palestinian future.

The portraits and interviews thus aim to tell a story of how young people feel their identity, how they experience it through their personal self as well as through the place in which they live, and in relation to people they live with, or are separated from. For the context of Palestine, the latter is particularly important, with Palestinians living divided between the West Bank, Gaza, Israel and the rest of the world. This separation, together with the system of oppression, discrimination and colonization which makes it almost impossible for people to travel, creates a distance that many young people try to overcome in their imagination by pointing to their emotional attachment to places and people they have only heard about, either through friends, parents or grandparents.

The people we met were outspoken about the way the political and social context they live in limits their dreams and possibilities for the future. And the sadness and anger this causes. Yet they also expressed an incredible perseverance, resilience and hopefulness. Despite insecurities that perpetuate their lives young people stress the importance of looking forward and struggle for change. Their dreams and imagination of a different future are not to be excluded from this change.

All the photos are self-portraits. While the photographer set up the photo studio it was the people themselves who took the portraits. This so called Selffish Studio developed by the Slovenian photographer Bojan Brecelj enables people to express themselves in a creative way, making them not only participants but co-authors of the project.

Every portrait was followed by a short interview which is partially published together with the photo. The photo studio was set up on different locations – streets, universities, youth centres, parks, cafes. Aside from few exceptions most of the people were selected randomly. Conversations took place in English or in Arabic with the help of a translator.

During our ten day stay in Palestine we visited East Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nablus, Jenin, Ramallah and Hebron, always with the surrounding areas. People we met live in these cities for various reasons: some were born there while others moved to the area to work, study, or are only passing through. These mix of people with different personal backgrounds shows the flow of the cities and theirits interconnectedness, the mobility, which although limited, it is still taking place.

During our ten day stay in Palestine we visited East Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nablus, Jenin, Ramallah and Hebron, always with the surrounding areas. People we met live in these cities for various reasons: some were born there while others moved to the area to work, study, or are only passing through. These mix of people with different personal backgrounds shows the flow of the cities and theirits interconnectedness, the mobility, which although limited, it is still taking place.

During our stay in Palestine we also planned to visit Gaza yet we were not able to obtain permission to enter. Unfortunately, we were also not able to meet Palestinians living inside the 1948 territory, the importance of which was stressed by several people we met. Hopefully, this is something we will be able to do another time in the future.

Lastly, we would also like to mention that both authors of the publication are forom Slovenia and do not live in Palestine. This of course had an impact on the way we approached the project, on the set up of the studio, on the questions we asked and the final selection for the publication. Our voices are thus impossible to exclude from the publication. This is therefore not just a book about the way young people see themselves, but to a certain extent, it is also connected to the way we see lives of young people in Palestine.


Free admission.


© IMAGO SLOVENIAE 2022. Vse pravice pridržane
Izdelava spletne strani: Pozitiven Design, Oblikovanje: LUKS Studio