March 2011

This month the Gallery is hosting the first exhibition related to a grant made by The Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development.  Our grant partially funded a project by an NGO called Zakira (“Memory “in Arabic).  Zakira’s primary goal is to promote the value of photography through workshops, exhibitions and civil awareness campaigns, among other activities.

In our case, photojournalist Ramzi  Haidar launched a project in 2007 to bring together volunteer photographers, journalists and artists with children in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.  Volunteers in the project, called Lahza (“Glimpse “in Arabic) taught photographic principles to 500 children between the ages 0f 5 and 12 for an entire year.  Instruction included learning how to use the camera to capture a desired image, and how to create images as a means of personal expression and of public communication.  The volunteers did not steer their work, but rather encouraged their own sense of observation.

For these children caught up in an unfair and horrific situation not of their own making, this sort of empowerment is rare.  It offered them a sense of control over their environment, a means of expressing emotions, and a sense of camaraderie that was more than just a by-product of the lessons.

The children subsequently used their cameras to capture images of their reality, with joy, spontaneity and truth.  While the technical proficiency of these young people is extraordinary, what is truly moving is to see the joy, hope, and sense of fun that emerges from photos of what adults see only as destruction and deprivation.  The minds and hearts of these Palestinian children offer a unique form of resistance and resilience.
We are exhibiting 19 large scale photographs, as well as the book produced by the group.  All are for sale.   Come to the exhibition and see the hope of the future.