Exhibition - Occupied Pleasures by Tanya Habjouqa at East Wing
Award winning series Occupied Pleasures by Tanya Habjouqa will be exhibited at East Wing from Tuesday, 20th May till 10th July 2014. East Wing is a gallery dedicated to photography and recently opened in Dubai, in the Limestone House building in Dubai International Financial Centre). This will be the gallery's second exhibition, after its ill-fated debut exhibition in Dubai which was shut down shortly after it opened.
Tanya Habjouqa is the recipient of the 2013 Magnum Foundation Emergency fund award, and also won an award at the 2014 World Press Photo Contest for Occupied Pleasures.
More than four million people live in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, under arduous political and economic conditions with limited freedom of movement. Yet, amidst these constricting circumstances arising from a 47-year occupation, commonplace everyday pleasures of the population persevere.
Tanya Habjouqa’s photographic project, "Occupied Pleasures", created between 2011–2014, observes these small, but far from insignificant moments of daily life with a sharp sense of humor, revealing a narrative which stands in stark contrast to more widely viewed reportage, focused on violence and conflict.
For Habjouqa, this series is also a very personal one and reflects her own experiences living in East Jerusalem with her family. Married to a Palestinian lawyer with Israeli citizenship, "Occupied Pleasures" also mirrors Habjouqa’s daily life, sharing quirky moments of amusement in a region rarely photographed with a sense of humor.
This exhibition will show life in East, Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem that we are not normally exposed to in the media. I've seen some of the work exhibted in group exhibiions in Dubai and elsewhere in the past, but never as a solo show, so I am really looking forward to this.
I love this quote by Habjouqa reflecting on the origins of the series.
I sought the juxtaposition of everyday politics and absurdity. Inspiration for this project came while in the Gaza Strip in 2009, during an interview with a man who refused to be deprived of his right to love, sneaking his Jordanian bride through tunnels from Egypt.
He told me, “it was like a Bollywood film, her standing there and trembling, covered with dirt… I covered her with kisses.”
Here are some of the photos from the exhibition. The exhibition will open on Tuesday 20th May and will run till Thursday, 10th July 2014. Don't miss this.
The Palestinian visual narrative, as represented in western media, is often portrayed through a narrow prism. Despite the inability of Palestinians to maintain and sustain a normal way of life, and amidst this jarring reality, men, women and children often manage to steal moments of simple joys – quirky, modest occasions of happiness that range from taking a spin on a merry go-around to riding horses, or imagining a tropical adventure all the while standing against a colorful backdrop with a live parakeet in a simple studio in a refugee camp. Tanya Habjouqa
© Tanya Habjouqa (2013) - A young boy attempts to bath his reluctant donkey in the sea, directly beside his home on the outskirts of Gaza's Deir al-Balah Refugee Camp. His family barely etches a living tied to menial labor with their horse and donkey. Bathing the animals is an excuse to splash around sea.
© Tanya Habjouqa (2013) - West Bank: Students from the Al-Quds University javelin team wrap up the last practice before summer vacation in the West Bank city of Abu Dis, next to the Israeli Separation Wall.
© Tanya Habjouqa (2013) - Hayat Abu R'maes, 25, and Nabila Albo, 39, have been teaching yoga for one year now. Sometimes they go to nature spots (one popular spot with Roman ruins) that settlers try to intimidate Palestinians from accessing, they say. They call it, "inner resistance". When yoga classes started in Zatara village, on the outskirts of Bethlehem, the weekly class barely had students. Now they are so popular that despite the small exercise room that is utilized as an aerobics class, the center staggers five classes a week. The room barely fits 15 students in each class.
© Tanya Habjouqa (2013) - Toy Van, Gaza Beach Highway.
Here's a video version of the series, think of it as an exhibition trailer.