Ra’ouf Haj Yihya
2012, rifle made out of cotton, live twitter streaming
Yehia is obsessed with the production and re-production of Palestinian visual culture, an endeavor that engages with Palestinian society in its fragmented articulations. By exploring the rifle, an object that has been historically connected with the representation and image of the Palestinian, the work critically historicizes and questions the contemporary production of Palestinian culture under the rubric of the Israeli colonial regime. The metamorphoses of this object from a means of resistance against colonial power to its current use as a means of domination and violence by and within the Palestinian community living inside Israel, urges a certain mapping and critical re-reading of these moments in relation to one another. A disquieting juxtaposition is created between the material (cotton) and the rifle. The onlooker is invited to look more closely at the present rather than dwell in the corridors of history.
Ra'ouf Haj Yehia received a degree in sociology from Birzeit University in 2003 and then worked as a teaching assistant in the photography program there for three years. In 2006, he was awarded the UNIDEE artist-in- residency at the Fondazione Pistoletto, Citta Del Arte in Biella, Italy, and was an artist in residence at Funen Art Academy in Denmark in September 2008.
His conceptual projects include the Ghabash newspaper project in the Al-Ayyam newspaper and Zwaya magazine (Beirut) in 2005. Documentation of his Bread for Gaza project was exhibited in the No Holidays in Gaza exhibition at the Contemporary Image Collective in Cairo (2007) and in Mapping, Art Dubai, United Arab Emirates (2009).