Perspectives on and from Gaza

Photography Exhibition

Tuesday May 18 | 18 hrs | Online streamed live from Forum Factory Berlin

In the days of Covid 19, we have become used to digital meetings. For people from Gaza, these kinds of virtual meetings are almost generally the only way to connect with people outside Gaza, as the blockade makes it impossible for an overwhelming majority of people to leave the area.

The exhibition project Eyes of Gaza عيون غزه opens the door to digital encounters between young people from Gaza and Gütersloh. In addition to the photography project on site in Gaza which is facilitated by the Qattan Child Center Gaza, it establishes a student exchange between the group of 10 in Gaza and students from a school in Gütersloh, Germany. The group of German students, which is led by two teachers, thus gets a first-hand impression of life in Gaza in pictures and in writing. The participants in Gaza will be supervised on the ground by the photographer Amjad Al Fayoumi, who will help the participants to visually document their everyday life.

From the series ‘Lockdown Diary 2020’ by Rahgad Al Shawwa, project participant.

In this way, the exhibition aims to help ensure that the people of Gaza do not fall into oblivion and, by initiating an exchange project, to create personal human connections across borders that are insurmountable beyond the digital sphere.

During a week in November, these photographs will be exhibited alongside historic photographs taken by Christian travelers to the region at the beginning of the 20th century as part of the [zait wa: zaʕtar] Festival for Palestinian Arts & Culture in Berlin. The exhibition subsequently sets off to travel for a year to several places in Germany, Italy, France and the UK, to return to Berlin at the end of 2021.

Gaza, early 20th Century. Archive of the Theological Faculty, Humboldt University Berlin

The project Eyes of Gaza عيون غزه is a collaborative project in which every link in the chain from the initial idea to the opening of the exhibition is important for bringing it to life. The participation of all those involved, from pupils and teachers to other helpers on site in Gaza is coordinated by:

Amjad Al Fayoumi works as a freelance photographer in Gaza. He studied multimedia studies at Alzhar University in Cairo and taught at the University of Palestine in Gaza. His previous experience includes working as a photographer for the news agency Medium 24 Production. During the workshop phase of the project, Amjad will supervise the students in Gaza and share his knowledge with them. He will make use of his pedagogical competence to help the students develop their artistic talents and skills.

Salman Nawati studied arts and majored in painting. He set out working as a teacher but soon started his journey into the practical side of fine arts. An advocate of arts therapy, he today works as a fine arts instructor and coordinator at Qattan Foundation – Gaza Center while continuing to pursue his own artistic experiments in his free time. Salman is keen on increasing his visual perception and artistic awareness through reading and researching new developments in the world of art and exchanging views and information. He believes that art is the most wholistic path into self-development and achieving inner peace both for one’s self and the community. He facilitates and coordinates the all the parts of the project happening in Gaza.

Stefanie Kulisch lives and works as a freelance photographer and picture editor in Berlin. Stefanie will contribute her expertise to the exhibition and also digitally accompany Amjad and the students during the workshop. She studied social and cultural sciences at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder and photography at the Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie in Berlin. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the European Month of Photography in Berlin, Germany; the Voies-Off Festival in Arles, France; and the Dak’Art Off Biennale in Saint-Louis, Senegal. Her personal works focus on long-term artistic documentary projects that analyze social aspects of coexistence with an intimate and humorous view.

Nahed Awwad is the curator of the exhibition Eyes of Gaza عيون غزه . She is an independent Palestinian filmmaker currently living and working in Berlin and has been working in film and television since 1997.  She received her diploma from the European Film College in Denmark and has since released eight films, including Going for Ride?, 5 Minutes from Home, and Gaza Calling. By giving her audience an intimate access to the characters in her films, Nahed creates a deeper connection between her films and the audience.

Cora Josting is a founding member and current Chairwoman of the Ibn Rushd Fund for Freedom of Thought eV, which strives to foster freedom of thought and supports democratic forces in the Arab World. A further goal of the association is to contribute to intercultural understanding between the two sides of the Mediterranean, and to encourage them to define their identities  through their common ground rather than through seemingly insurmountable differences; to to thus uncover and strengthen the potential that lies in the synergies and interaction of the two cultures.
She initiated the [zait wa: zaʕtar] Festival for Palestinian Arts & Culture, which will open with the exhibition Eyes of Gaza عيون غزه