Challenging Borders © 2019 by Sydney Van Hulle and Jori Gelbaugh

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Walking Saba's Bethlehem

As geographical boundaries have simultaneously become more porous and politicized, contemporary artists are increasingly employing embodied movement and symbolic mapping as artistic mediums with which to navigate personal identity within geographic place. "Storywalks in Palestine" is a series that explores walking as embodied placemaking through the documentation of place-based narratives, cultural memory, community identity, and everyday civic engagement.

Individual residents took me on a tour of significant sites in their West Bank neighborhoods, sharing personal and collective memories of places marked by dualities of both the miraculous and the mundane, belonging and betrayal, and rites of passage and passages denied. This creative act, becomes a form of resistance, as they define the narrative of their Palestine, a place whose borders contract according to the narratives of foreign and occupying powers. Here, Saba, a secondary science teacher and artist takes me on a tour of his hometown of Bethlehem.

Trouble viewing? See the project here instead.

Tori Pelz
Department of Art and Art History
COLLABORATOR: Dr. Sari Hanafi, American University-Beirut
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