Meeting the women of the Gaza refugee camp in Jerash, Jordan, what struck Aya Abu Ghazaleh were their strong memories of their native villages and their existential longing to visit, and go back to, Palestine. But time and generations have distorted their mental images. “Our memories of our homeland Palestine can be tricky and forged. What do we remember? Windows? Doors? Domes? What were their colours?”, they say. This memory belt shows the distorted images of the houses, but, at the same time, it is literally holding them together. And in the little pocket on the inside, the most precious thoughts and objects can be kept close.
- Aya Abu Ghazaleh (PS, JO)
Aya Abu Ghazaleh received her bachelor’s degree in visual arts from The University of Jordan in 2013 with honor. She has participated in a number of group exhibitions in: Amman design Week, I:OArt Residence Bahçecik Izmit, Turkey, Palestinian art court/ Jerusalem , Naila gallery/ Ryiadah, Cairo-Amman, Bank Gallery, The Spring Sessions, Fondazione Cini/ Venice, The Lab/ DaratAlfunon, University of Jordan Library, Nabad Gallery, The Studio.
- Gaza Refugee Camp (PS)
Gaza camp is a refugee camp near Jerash, where almost 40,000 Palestinian refugees are living. They, their parents or grandparents, fled from Gaza in 1967, when Israel invaded the Gaza strip, which was at that time under Egyptian rule. These Palestinian refugees never received Jordanian citizenship. Until today they don’t have a national number and are therefore stateless. As such, they aren’t allowed to work, don’t have access to regular healthcare, and they can’t afford to further their education outside the camp. If they would like to get a job, they need to buy a working permit of 500 JOD (± € 600), which is only valid for 6 months. So for most people this doesn’t make any sense at all. One cannot understand how these people aren’t offered any way out, no right to return, no status, no opportunities, no future. These Palestinian refugees have lived under inhumane conditions for 50 years now. Although we were aware that we were visiting one of the poorest camps in Jordan, nobody expected that the refugees struggle this much. We were silenced, speechless, saddened, angry, but above all we felt powerless and were struggling how to relate to this uncomfortable truth. Some felt really depressed, others were fighting with feelings of guilt for not taking enough action, and at the same time we felt unease in being part of a van with international visitors, being dropped at places in the camp to visit, watch and leave. It underlined our privileged position and the bubble we live in.
By: Zeinab Abu Jarar, Handa Abu Ateq, Muna Abu Ateq, Wisal al Qadi, Zainab Abu Jamous (Gaza Camp, Jerash, JO)
Cotton, embroidery, zipper