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A short interview with... Ahlam Shibli

Summeracademy: What does the term “Heimat/home” mean to you? 


Ahlam Shibli: Santu Mofokeng has written: "The notion of 'home' is a fiction we create out of a need to belong."

Home's inaccessibility and evasiveness is responsible at one and the same time for the urgent need to represent what is denied representation and for the impossibility to consider representation a straightforward act of uncovering, revealing, and exposing "what has been". The photographic recording needs to be cautious not to objectify and victimise the subjects of state violence.


[Untitled (Heimat no. 27), Nordhessen, Germany, 2016–17, chromogenic print, 66,7 x 100 cm. Rathaus Kassel, 03.03.2017, courtesy of the artist, Copyright Ahlam Shibli] 


S: You are a Palestinian photographer. Why did you choose photography as your medium? 


A: To photograph has been always shaking my heart like nothing else. Photography has been for me and still is a field of imagination, of creation, of creating a truth, of reading what is there, and of building a narrative. For these reasons I find that photography is a way of opening the eyes and telling a truth.


S: What role does your heritage play in your photography?


A: My everyday life, my reading, my seeing, my listening, my observing, and my thinking are my heritage, and they are the source of my photography.



[Ahlam Shibli, Ramallah Archive, SMAK © SMAK, 2017]


S: How does your political point of view influence your work and how does your photography reflect it? 


A: It challenges me more to open the eyes and see what is there and it offers me to listen deeply and to hear what I don't know. My political awareness helps me to raise interesting questions relating to the subjects/themes I'm dealing with. But themes and issues I photograph are also a consequence of my political, social and human awareness. The best examples of an answer to the question "how my photographs reflect it" are the artist's statements/wall texts that accompany most of my works as well as the captions that accompany the individual photographs.


[Ahlam Shibli at Summer Academy 2016, photo: Susan Must]


07/03/18 18:31 Summer Academy 2016, Summer Academy 2018

1 comment

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