Ahlam Shibli احلام شبلي

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© Ahlam Shibli



Ramallah Archive

Palestine, 2014
series of 19 photographs, 38.5 x 57.7 cm; 66.7 x 100 cm, chromogenic prints



The work joins files kept at the Ramallah Municipality archive with negatives that were found at the archive, and the contemporary city.

Eleven cardboard boxes were filled with negatives, produced by the Ramallah-based photographer Garo Kuftedjian at his Studio Venus. After his death his family gave them to the Municipality.

The negatives represent individuals and families, often on the occasion of a particular event, a marriage, the arrival of a new baby or a journey. Family photographs are used as testimonies to the completeness of the family; the absent ones may be represented by a photo shown by one of their relatives in the picture.

While the photographs expose the individuals different social affiliations and changes of fashion, the files refer to various periods of Palestinian history: the time under Jordanian rule, the administration by the Israeli occupation forces and the time following the Oslo Accords and the creation of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The photographs point to ways of reorganizing collective and individual existence. One of the main conditions is the lack of space. Stacking, compressing, filling the void connect both the archive and the urban development.