This is the fourth in a series of profiles of past projects by artists featured in the Palestine c/o Venice Pavilion. – ed.
Taysir Batniji‘s (b.1966 in Gaza, Palestine) work concentrates on the traces of memory, disappearance and loss. In the early part of his career, he worked with a variety of mediums, including painting, imprints and objects. His return to Gaza in 2001 after finishing his studies in France marked a turning point: he felt impelled to start working in photography, to “come closer to reality”. Photography evolved into a daily ritual, and Batniji was soon creating a journal of his visits to his homeland.
As Batniji states:
Making pictures of Gaza has always meant a lot for me. This helps me to take stock of my daily life in the same way as other people keep a diary or, perhaps even, unconsciously, to resist the continuous wearing away of the city by making a sort of inventory during each of my trip.
Journal In time, (Gaza, Between 2001 and 2006) is divided into four parts: série 1, La frontière (The border); série 2, Chez moi (My Place); série 3, La ville (The City) and série 4, La mer (The Sea). Each cycle of photographs lends an intimate eye into the life Batniji lives in between, as both a tourist and as native son. Each section is paired with a short description Batniji wrote, whether it be the innavigability of coming and going out of Gaza, the melancholy of a hot, tired day, visiting with family or walking at night as the sea laps at his feet. These vivid and poetic narratives not only give content to his photographs, but also engage his viewer on an intimate and emotional level through the comings and goings, the traces of life.
It’s a city where you are constantly dogged by the glaze of other people, the subject of their curiosity… It is also a place where you can live in a completely improvised manner, because there is no other way – and where you may be confronted to the most unexpected situations…
All Images from Journal In time, (Gaza, Between 2001 and 2006).