5cents a pound

An archive of inspiration, negotiating the world through artistic intervention

Emily Jacir: Where We Come From

One of Jacir’s most compelling projects, 2001-2003’s “Where We Come From,” centers on a variety of simple requests. She posed the question, “If I could do anything for you anywhere in Palestine what would it be?” to Palestinians living in Palestine and to those exiled in Lebanon, Syria, Europe, and America, rich and poor alike. Then with the help of her American passport, Jacir set out to fulfill their wishes. Photographs depicting what she did for them are accompanied by a text in English and Arabic explaining what the request was and what restricted the person from performing it him or herself. Most limitations had to do with the person’s identification card and the physical borders they could not cross, while others had psychological barriers which were just as restricting. Requests ranged from the everyday to more drawn out visits. One girl asked Jacir to go to Haifa and play soccer with the first Palestinian boy she saw on the street. Another man asked her to visit his mother’s grave in Jerusalem on the anniversary of her birthday. It really brings a deeper reality to the Palestinian situation when such simple actions are impossible.

When asked the next day in an interview who her audience was, Jacir replied, “Palestinians. Palestinians everywhere.” She furthered, “What I was trying to say in that piece was that the Palestinians in Lebanon are Palestinian and also living the Palestinian experience, that it’s a totally valid experience. Just like the Palestinians in the Gulf, just like the Palestinians here, just like the Palestinians in the West Bank, we’re all - they are all - all of those are Palestinian stories. They are all our story, and no one has more priority than someone else.” Unfortunately, it would be impossible for Jacir to attempt to make this piece today because of the escalating immobility forced upon the Palestinians, the Apartheid Wall, closures, and the checkpoints.

via electronicinfititada

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