I drove to CalArts on Tuesday night to hear Emily Jacir talk about her work. Though I knew very little about her previous to her lecture, I was moved and excited by what I heard and saw. Little bit of background: Emily Jacir is a Palestinian artist who has lived in Saudia Arabia, the U.S. and in Europe. Her work engages themes of displacement, movement, and return (read more about her HERE). One of the projects she presented was called Where We Come From in which she asked Palestinians who could not return to their homeland what she could do for them in Palestine which she was able to visit with a U.S. passport. One person asked her to visit his brother’s family. Another asked her to eat a specific dish that they remembered and craved. HERE is documentation of the different requests and her recording of them as they were accomplished.

QUOTE: “Emily Jacir’s series “Where We Come From” cuts through all that, reducing an intractably untidy mess to the simple, humane question “What can I do for you in Palestine, where you can’t go but I can?” Having done what was asked of her, she further reduces the answer to a creative juxtaposition of wish, wish fulfillment, and wish embodied in picture and text: writing and image elegantly brought together with a clarity that most Palestinians cannot experience in the present. Her compositions slip through the nets of bureaucracies and nonnegotiable borders, time and space, in search not of grandiose dreams or clotted fantasies but rather of humdrum objects and simple gestures like visits, hugs, watering a tree, eating a meal — the kinds of things that maybe all Palestinians will be able to do someday, when they can trace their way home, peacefully and without restriction.” – Edward Said

(image from HERE)


xx GD

stefanig greenwood, photography