Palestinian Nakba project

Palestinian Refugee, Beddaui camp, N. Lebanon, with the key to her house from which she was forcibly expelled in 1948, © 2008 JANE FREREI saw a marvellous exhibition at the Patriothall Gallery in Edinburgh created by the Scottish artist Jane Frere, titled ‘Return of the soul: The Nakbah project’.

Frere, who was inspired by visits in the Nazi concentration camps, deciedd to create a project on the plight of the Palestinians, dispossessed by the Zionists during and after the 1948 war, which Israelis calls their ‘war of independence’ and Palestinians their Nakba, or catastrophe.

Because I am working on a book on Israelis commemorating the Palestinian Nakba, I thought this project, made of thousands of wax figures of refugees, suspended on invisible nylon strings from the ceiling, creating a visceral, emotional exodus, was very poignant. Even though I often think that the Palestinian voice tends to be appropriated by well wishers – perhaps like me? – Frere, who worked with second and third generation refugees in Lebanon and the West Bank, teaching them to scult the figurines and getting them to record the testimonies of their parents and grandparents, has created an impressive project.

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