Keep Your Eye On The Wall: Palestinian Landscapes

Olivia Snaije, Editor, Mitchell Albert, Editor, Raja Shehadeh, Foreword by
Edited by Olivia Snaije and Mitchell Albert . Saqi (Consortium, dist.), $69.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-86356-759-9
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The 435 mile wall that cuts through the West Bank and Gaza, restricting Palestinians access to travel within the West Bank, and often their ability to work their land, has been the subject of movies, articles and books. Here seven artist-photographers and four essayists searingly present the wall in pictures and text, in a beautiful accordion bound book, that like the wall, extends in a long line from beginning to end. Four times the length of the Berlin Wall and costing billions of dollars, the wall has several names: "security fence," "Apartheid Wall," and "Separation Barrier," but regardless of its name, what it does is divide. Raed Bawayah's photos depict the terrible living conditions of migrant Palestinian workers on the Israeli side of the wall. The German photographer Kai Wiedenhofer, who photographed the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and has documented the construction of the separation barrier from 2003-20010, concludes that, "Barriers embody human weakness, people's inablility to communicate with each other." Raeda Saadeh does a series of art photographs featuring a woman as muse with the wall as backdrop; she appears wearing feathered angel wings, carrying a ladder, or pulling at the wall with a rope. Steve Sabella's photos zoom in to document barbed wire and concrete fragments that appear as art pieces. Rula Halawani shows the haphazard gates in the wall, as obtrusive as the eight ancient gates of Jerusalem are beloved and beautiful. In the foreword by human rights acitvist Raja Shehadeh, he writes that the wall makes the statement "that the two nations, Israel and Palestine, cannot live in peace side by side but need to be divided by a high, monstrous barrier." Walls separate. One can only hope that this wall, like that other infamous wall, will someday fall and the disputed areas will be peacefully reconciled to the advantage of both sides. This book embodies that hope. (Apr.)
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