5cents a pound

An archive of inspiration, negotiating the world through artistic intervention

Ziyah Gafić : Palestine, A Land without People, People without Land

Part 1 of 2. Tumblr limits me to 10 images per post…. but the entire series must be seen as a whole. See part 2 here.

Ziyah Gafić was born in Sarajevo, surviving the Bosnian war. His full biography is worth a read, and puts in context the personal investment he has in his photography practice. An excerpt:

This is a series of photo essays, on the aftermath of war and violence in the daily life of people living in societies in Europe, Africa and Asia. I aimed to capture the quiet, the loneliness and the determination of people trying to carry on with their lives after the very fabric of their community, their rituals and their social life has been torn apart.

Aim is to compare and to try to understand the circumstances and the political environment that can lead a country to its disintegration and above all to record the consequences for the human condition in these places. For someone who went through war and personal loss empathy is essential. If readers do not emphasize with the subject in my photographs then I have failed.

The countries I photographed have one more important thing in common: they all have a significant Muslim community. In post 9.11th times when these countries are considered the main sources of international terrorism, I as a European Muslim find it obligatory to record the chain of events unfolding in these places and show their fragility: torn apart by ethnic hate, long and exhausting conflicts, polluted with the legacy of colonial rule and Cold War, while very often being regarded as a cradle of our civilization, mysterious and beautiful.

I’ve been documenting aftermath since 1999 since then I worked in;  Bosnia: a painful aftermath and identification of the missing persons, Palestine: one of the longest conflicts of 20th century and new separation wall, Iraq: the troubled neighborhood of Sadr City, Kurdistan: at dawn of the coalition invasion, Northern Ossetia: aftermath of Beslan siege, Chechnya: daily life in Grozny, Afghanistan: damaged people, damaged landscape and Lebanon: aftermath of recent Israeli military campaign.

These photo-essays unpretentiously seek to illuminate the pattern of questionable international involvement and focus on the people left behind, struggling to restore some kind of daily order in their damaged environments.

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