Rafat Zrieq | I and the Other I
Curator: Farid Abu Shakra
Rafat Zrieq observes the relations among different and clashing people as a political, social, and cultural phenomenon, in their complex and interwoven interactions with the altruistic alternate that might be called the Other—in an attempt to discover the details of which these Others are composed and shaped in the contemporary Palestinian cultural scene. Zrieq's works correspond with the Zionist photographic tableau and the Palestinian-Israeli events that influence it and vice versa. It stands in addition to Zrieq’s research on marginalized social issues, such as the children of Rahat, people with special needs, or those who were displaced from their villages. Zrieq comes face-to-face with the Other as a marginalized artistic subject that exerts political and social influence on the artist’s own self.
In this exhibition the artist focuses on the direct or indirect relationship with the presence of the foreign Other from the perspective of the Palestinian. Zrieq's photographic works brings the Palestinian families who have been displaced from their homes and villages back to what has become an occupied land, there he takes their pictures as they practice various rituals and engage in situations that lead them back to the past, to the customs and traditions of villagers. There they are reminded of forgotten daily practices, stirring up memories more than seventy years old.
The artist is thus inspired to search for a fourth dimension in order to narrow the gap between those who are different, and those who must accept them. Through his lens Zrieq seeks to bridge the distance that blinds us from seeing those who are different in their appearance, in their physical or psychological disability, in their skin color, religion, race, and identity. Zrieq seeks the human dimension fourth dimension at the checkpoints that Palestinians cross as they move from place to place; the unavoidable human dimension between occupier and occupied, between the settler and the Palestinian, between the authoritarian and the subordinate. These paradoxes between the political and the social stimulate human emotions and relate to the ugly political situations that the Palestinians experience, and to the difficult social situations that those with disabilities experience, each in their own disability. Zrieq seeks this dimension in order to construct, through it, a dialogue between the divergent directions and, perhaps, to find solutions to the political and social problems and barriers between what the authority imposes on us politically and what fate imposes on us, between what the occupation imposes and what we impose on ourselves.