About The Work
As I grew into adulthood, I could not help but repeat Mother’s words “even when we die and leave this world, our spirits will remain floating in the skies of our county, Palestine” What mother was actually referring to were the two tragedies that befell Palestine in the 1948 war- the Nakba and the June war of 1967. To her the spirits of Palestinians will stay in the skies of Palestine despite the ensuing military occupation of the land, death and expulsion Those words confused me as a child, I could not understand them then, but now when I decided to devote a project to my Mother, I made several experimentations trying to translate my mother’s words into photographs. For this project, I used archival photographic portraits of people who had lived in Palestine before their Diaspora in 1948. I faded these portraits, collaging them into the skies of special images from the Palestinian landscape, making them look somehow like floating spirits. I had several conversations with my Mama, she talked a lot about the changes of the traditional landscape of Palestine before the Israeli occupation in 1948, “Palestine was much more beautiful with its traditional landscape, its villages and cities fusing naturally within the mountainous terrains and plains of the landscape. Nowadays the settlements and the ugly random construction ruin this traditional landscape” I was hoping to discuss the development of my new series when I finished it with my Mother, but as I continued with the project, my Mother developed Alzheimer becoming worse and worse with time. Now she looks and listens but keeps silent, just like the souls I have in my series, they too are silent witnesses to the changes in the landscape, refusing to leave the skies of our beloved Palestine.
Born in 1964, Rula Halawani holds a Bachelor of Art degree in Advanced Photography from the
University of Saskatchewan in Canada (1989); and a Master of Art degree in Photographic Studies from the University of Westminster, London (2001). Halawani is based in Jerusalem, where, in
addition to her artistic practice, she was the founding director and an associate professor of the
Photography program at Birzeit University.
Halawani’s exhibitions include the Venice Biennale (2019); Palestinian Museum, Birzeit (2019,
2017); American University Museum, Washington DC, USA (2018); Canadian War Museum, Ottawa (2017); Mediterranean Women Forum, Jerez del la Frontera, Cádiz (2017); The Hagop Kevorkian Center, New York (2016), National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC
(2016); Ayyam Gallery, Beirut (2016); Ayyam Gallery, 12 Alserkal Avenue, Dubai (2016); Selma Feriani Gallery, London (2013, 2010); Al Hoash Gallery, Jerusalem (2009); and Botanique
Museum, Brussels. Halawani has featured in recent collective exhibitions at the Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Valencia (2017); Metropolitan State University, Denver (2017); Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburg (2015); MART Museum, Rovereto (2014); FotoFest Biennial, Houston
(2014); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2012); and BOZAR, Palace for
Fine Arts, Brussels (2011)
Founded in 2006, Ayyam Gallery is a leading arts organisation with an art space in Dubai. A series of collaborative projects in the United States, Europe and Asia, alongside a multinational non-profit arts programme, have furthered the gallery’s mandate of expanding the parameters of international art. With its widely respected multilingual publishing division and a custodianship programme that manages the estates of pioneering artists, Ayyam Gallery has also contributed to recent efforts to document underrepresented facets of global art history.