The Checkpoint bag narrates the struggle for freedom of movement in the constricted livelihood in Palestine. Thousands of Palestinians have to cross military checkpoints on a daily basis, to perform their activities or access basic health and education services. The checkpoints are erected by the Israeli military occupation, and are purposely designed to make people wait in cramped lines inside ‘hi-tech’ cages to prepare their identification cards for inspection, to remove metallic items from their bags and go through demeaning ‘security’ checks.
The design of this handmade leather bag reflects the heavy layers of the checkpoint-crossing experience. Through the extra handle on the bottom, one can swiftly turn the bag and access the external pockets. These have different sizes and shapes to store items before the bag enters the X-ray scanner. The Israeli soldiers will see a hidden pattern inside, the ‘right of return’ keys (haqq al-awda), revealing itself only on their X-ray monitor.
The Checkpoint bag does not simply adapt or surrender to this reality; rather, it challenges it by empowering the carrier and making people understand what Palestinians have to go through on a daily basis. The bag becomes a design charged with meaning, claiming the right to freedom of movement and return to the homeland.
- Areej Ashhab (PS)
Areej is an artist and designer based in Jerusalem, currently studying at Bezel Academy of Art and Design. “Actually I think that Palestinians are always afraid of doing things they think they are forbidden to do. They think they are forbidden of most of the things, as a state of mind, then it comes out that actually nobody cares. This is something that we as Palestinians must change in our mindset. You can’t live being always scared and nervous. We have to start to make things, being confident about ourselves, our projects and desires.”
- Monika Grütze (LV)
Monika is a Latvian designer based is Amsterdam currently studying at the Think Tank for Visual Strategies master program of the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam.
- Florian Mecklenburg (DE)
- Jelld workshop (Hebron, PS)
JELLD is committed to produce handmade leather products in Palestine.
Palestinian bovine leather, with metal zippers, hidden key silhouette, and an extra cushioned back
37 x 28 cm
Identity = health
الهوية = الصحة
Half a decade before the Covid-19 pandemic، Gaza-born artist Mohammed Musallam created a face mask based on the traditional keffiyeh textile. The conceptual artwork could be seen both as an expression of Palestinian identity and as a means of protection; caring for identity is as important as protecting health itself. It was first used in Gazan hospitals under the Israeli occupation’s siege. Impossible at that time to foresee the impact of Covid-19; this face mask shows the power of artistic imagination. The artwork did not lose any of its meaning; just the contrary.
Gaza’s potentially disastrous combination of widespread impoverishment, densely-packed refugee camps and extremely limited hospital capacity make us even more aware of the catastrophic impact of the Israeli occupation and how fragile life can be. Caring for each other is more important than ever.
Under Musallam’s supervision, the new masks were produced in Gaza City by tailor Abu Alaa Ghaben; to be worn for your safety and as an act of solidarity.
- Mohammed Musallam (PS)
Mohammed Musallam was born in Gaza in 1974 after his family had been dislocated from the historic Palestine as a consequent of the 1948 war. He holds a PhD in philosophy of Fine Arts, Painting Department, Fine Arts College, Minia University, Egypt. He currently resides in Gaza and works there as a lecturer of “Painting and the History of Palestinian Arts” at the College of Arts, Al Aqsa University. From his first steps as a university student he became greatly influenced by the abstract art processes and approaches. In his Art, he focuses on portraying a range of humanistic issues, which go beyond the limitations imposed by any prevailing time-related matters, which may be oppressive and persistent simultaneously. At the same time, he concentrates on conveying the notion of the preservation of our humaneness amid the harshness of our environment as one of the most important reasons for our existence.
- Abu Alaa Ghaben (Gaza, PS)
Carpenter living in Gaza City.
Multi layered face-mask (front side keffiyeh textile, backside white cotton) with elastic straps, washable & reusable
19 x 9 cm
€9,95 – €12,95