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2015, Photography and Digital Techniques


     A series representing the stories of Jewish refugees from MENASA countries. Since 1948, over 850,000 Jews have been expelled from countries across the MENASA region. Millennia-old communities were erased in the space of one generation. Lives uprooted and families spread across continents, these refugees were forced to abandon their previous lives and build new ones. The effects of this mass expulsion on the refugees, their descendants and the course of history as a whole are incalculable. 

    This project is an outgrowth of the realization on the part of the artist that features of her Syrian community, comprised entirely of these refugees and their descendants, are in fact quite unique and unusual. Namely, the fact that nobody owns any family heirlooms, or that the mother tongue of so many members of this NY based community is not English, but Arabic.

     Nine individuals from six MENASA countries were interviewed about their forced migration experiences. The artworks created from these interviews contrast the past and current lives of each person. The "past" photographs are of the few (or sometimes singular) objects the person was able to bring with them after leaving their origin country. Over the image is a list of the objects, places and people they left behind. The counterpart "current" photographs do the same, illustrating important parts of the person's life as it is now. For most of these people, this was the first time that they publicly shared details of their escape and resettlement stories. Their narratives display an intense resilience and positive outlook on life despite what they had been through. The artworks share the stories while celebrating the ability of these people to move on and rebuild.

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