Gulf Photo Plus’s highly anticipated annual event, Slidefest, returns this February as part of Reel Palestine 2022 — everyone's favorite film festival — in their special lineup of events! This year's theme as part of the collaboration with Reel Palestine 2022 will cover compelling photography projects and diverse narratives from photographers working within Palestine.
Slidefest Palestine will take place at Alserkal Avenue's outdoor venue, The Yard, on Saturday, 5 February at 7pm. A night of stunning projections and gripping stories, this iteration of Slidefest will be showcasing five projects by five renowned Palestinian photographers. Audiences will get a glimpse of the treasured moments they captured from across the West Bank and Gaza, and will get to participate in conversation with the artists via a moderated Q&A that will be live streamed from their hometowns.
Slidefest is a platform for photographers to engage in meaningful exchange with viewers about their work, and for some, to share new insights on their projects in the process. While photography projects that are in the initial stages of development are often largely unseen by the public until they are tightly edited and refined, Slidefest allows audiences unique access into the process of creating long-term visual projects, and the lived experiences that inform a photographer’s storytelling.
The featured images will delve into the world of skateboarding culture for youth in Palestine with Maen Hammad, visual stories from Gaza with Rehaf Batniji, gender discourse by Samar Hazboun, compelling photojournalism in Gaza by Samar Abu Elouf, and visual stories from refugee camps in Gaza with Sanad Abu Latifa.
Living in the Dark by Samar Abu Elouf
The project documents the lives of people in the Gaza Strip without electricity over different years, in the street, the city, the camp, and the hospital. It documents the lives of people and children and the impact of electricity cuts on their lives in general, on their educational and academic tasks, and the use of electricity alternatives. I began to focus on the project on the lives of people on the street without electricity and in the middle of darkness, and now I have reached a very important stage, which is documenting the lives of people whose alternatives to electricity such as candles, kerosene lights and LED lights that run on batteries, have led to fires and the loss of many children to death by burning, Or it led to eternal distortions that negatively affected the lives of these people.
Education in Refugee Camps in Gaza by Sanad Abu Latifa
Education is the only glimmer of hope left for children in refugee camps in Gaza. Their resistance is working hard at school. Their parents, although not educated themselves, encourage and support the children as much as possible. They have pride in the high grades the children obtain. When there is no power, they provide candlelight. When schools close during Covid, families spend the little money they have on wifi cards for children to learn on mobile phones. They travel long distances for their kids to arrive in schools that have become their true refuge from a childhood robbed and a hope for a future reclaimed.
Errant Doves by Samar Hazboun
Errant Doves –the title of which references a poem by the author Ocean Vuong– is a project exploring the emotional state of marginalised Palestinians following the Covid 19 pandemic in Palestine. While Hazboun’s subjects face both the hardships of occupation and the rejection of their lifestyle choices within their own communities, Errant Doves highlights their creativity and resolve to forge lives of their own choosing.
Fish by Rehaf Batniji
The English word ‘fish,’ and the Arabic expression “fsh!” (a term that indicates that there is nothing, or that something is missing) come together in this project, their combination yielding some ironic term connoting that there are no fish. Will Gaza‘s fish go extinct?! Hundreds of fish species live in the Mediterranean Sea, while only tens of these species have remained in the sea of this besieged city for over eleven years. Since September 2000, tightened restrictions on Palestinian access to the sea have been enforced through the firing of live ammunition, arrests and the confiscation of equipment - at present, the approved distance from the coast for fishing is three nautical miles. Gazan fishermen risk their lives to be able to sail up to six nautical miles, where they can fish these species, as the leisurely populations of other Mediterranean coastal cities live and carry out fishing practices freely.
Landing by Maen Hammad
Landing is a collaborative look at the purposeful escape that skateboarding provides to a handful of Palestinian skaters, including Hammad himself. This purposeful escape is a radical form of resistance to a headspace of violence, situated in the mundane and explicit layers of Israeli domination in Palestine. Woven throughout are also tales of his own family’s experience of displacement, diaspora, and partial return.
“I brought my skateboard with me to Palestine in 2014 when I moved back after living 19 years in the US, because I knew I would be a stranger. I needed the kid in me to remind himself that all is well, while I tried to find home. Skating leads us into a parallel world, where we can participate in our surroundings. This participation is an interpretive dance with the built environment, a tool to assemble a community, and most importantly, a centering on the imagination. This project serves as a reminder for this pocket of freedom, as we all try to find our landing. Throughout the project are photos taken by myself, as well as those taken on disposable cameras from the core group of skaters. I simply asked them to photograph the world around them.” – Maen Hammad, Photographer.
About the artists.
Samar Abu Elouf
Samar Abu Elouf is a Palestinian photographer residing in the Gaza Strip and is an awardwinning, most newly the James Foley Award for Conflict Reporting, on covering the events of the last war on Gaza, May 2021. Since 2010, she has worked as a freelance photojournalist on assignment for outlets such as Reuters, The New York Times, NZZ Swiss Magazine and others. In addition to her assignments, Abu Elouf dedicates her time to her ongoing projects focusing on presenting women in Gaza and the effects of wars. Samar has received mentorship and training in visual storytelling through World Press Photo, RAWIA, Noor Images and the Arab Documentary Photography Program, an initiative supported by a partnership between the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, the Prince Claus Fund and Magnum Foundation.
Sanad Abu Latifa
Sanad Abu Latifa is a freelance photographer and photojournalist from Gaza. His photographic practice focuses on daily life of Gazans, refugees, social movements, and uprisings. He has worked with international publications such as Middle East Eye, Al Jazeera English, CNN, Asia Plus among others, as well as organizations such as Oxfam and the UN. Sanad is currently going through the asylum process in Europe.
Rehaf Batniji is a self-taught photographer based in Gaza City, Palestine. She currently works for the Nawa for Culture and Arts Association as a public relations officer, where she is responsible for the photographic and video documentation of all events, activities and projects. She also provides training for adolescents learning the art of photography. In her own practice, Batniji is interested in street photography, as she feels the street is a portal by which she learns about the lives, cultures, communities and identities of the people who dwell in her city. To date, she has produced two significant photography projects, the first entitled ‘Road Works’, and the second ‘Al-Khidr Monastery Restoration Photography Book.’
Maen Hammad considers himself a dedicated creative, always encouraged to explore in the imaginative and to play around with the mundane. Hammad has been documenting the Palestinian skateboard scene for the last six years and engages in reciprocal nourishment with this community. Hammad was born in Palestine, raised in the American suburbs of Michigan, and is currently based in between Palestine and Washington, D.C. Alongside being a photographer and filmmaker Maen works as a human rights researcher and campaigner. Maen Hammad has had his work exhibited worldwide and his thoughts shared in TIME, Medium Skate Mag, and TEDx.
Palestinian photographer Samar Hazboun holds a masters degree in Photojournalism from the University of Westminster, a BA in International Relations, and a degree in Photo and Video Therapy. In 2019, she was a mentor on the Canon education program in Matera, Italy. In 2018 she was chosen for the JS Masterclass for the World Press Photo. She worked as a Middle East Photo Editor for AFP for over 4 years before embarking on a freelance career working for organisations such as UNWOMEN, UNFPA, OXFAM, Alianza Por Solidaridad…alongside teaching BA students at the Dar Al-Kalima University College. She’s been published by the New York Times, Al-Jazeera, The Intercept, The Washington Post, El Pais, among others. Samar won the Self-Portrait category in the 11th Pollux award. She was awarded grants by the Magnum Foundation, AFAC, the Washington Post and the Prince Claus Fund. She was also awarded the Khalil Al-Sakakini award for her project Hush - Gender based violence in Palestine.