Erasures: On Memory and Forgetting

Fazel Sheikh

September 2016

The Erasure Trilogy seeks to explore the legacies of the War of 1948, which resulted in the dispossession and displacement of three quarters of the Palestinian population, in the establishment of the State of Israel, and in the reconfiguration of territorial borders across the region. In addition, historical documents and materials related to the history of Al-'Araqīb, a Bedouin village that has been destroyed and rebuilt more than one hundred times in the ongoing "battle over the Negev".

Elements of this project have been exhibited at the Slought Foundation in Philadelphia, Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York, Al-Ma'mal Foundation for Contemporary Art in East Jerusalem and the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre in Ramallah. Together, this decentralised network of institutions, each functioning in different arenas and with different mandates, collectively seeks to generate conversation across different sites, contexts, and communities about the politics of dispossession and displacement.

Two publications, conceived as portable archives, were also distributed. The first, prepared in English, Hebrew, and Arabic for Al-Ma'mal, provides contextual information about the photographs and materials featured in its exhibition, and was distributed at t its opening on September 7, 2016. The second, prepared in English and Arabic for Sakakini, was distributed as an insert in the daily newspaper "Al-Ayyam," and was presented and displayed at Sakakini at its opening on September 8, 2016. In so doing, we hope the newspaper will reach communities that have directly experienced much of what is detailed within the histories documented in Memory Trace.

Download the publication

Fazel Sheikh was born in 1965 in New York City. He graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in 1987 and since then has worked as a photographer documenting the lives of individuals in displaced communities across East Africa, in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Brazil, Cuba, India and Israel/Palestine. He has received many awards for his work. He uses photographs to document people living in displaced and marginalised communities around the world. His principle medium is the portrait, although his work also encompasses personal narratives, found photographs, archival material, sound, and his own written texts.

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