Inserted Instead: Critical Fabulation and Alternative Narrative Creation in Palestinian and Arab Archival Art

Laser printed zine
5.5"x8.5" 
2018

Completed alongside my installation The House on the Hill presented in the exhibition www.mit.edu/~ruchill/lazycurator.submit.html, this zine contains part of my essay which expands Saidiya Hartman’s arguments regarding the failure of archival representation of enslaved African women to Palestinian historiography and demonstrates the application of Hartman’s concept of critical fabulation in Arab archival art practices. The histories, identities, and representation of Palestinians are erased, mischaracterized, and devalued through the active displacement of Palestinian narratives from archival platforms. This erasure is an intentional act of Israeli state violence meant to promote a harmful hegemonic perception of Israel’s establishment in and occupation of Palestine. Arab archival artists, including myself, engage in the essential act of critical fabulation to refute and complicate hegemonic colonial narratives regarding Middle Eastern history. Works in The House on the Hill brings attention to the events that transpired in the theft of my family home in the village of Wadi Hunayn, the functions of erasure evident within the Israeli narratives surrounding the events, and the discrepancies between my inherited oral histories and those of the authoritative Israeli institutions.

Passport

Photolithography, letterpress
5"x4" 
2018

Part prayer, part document, part proof of existence. Based on research of passports and identity cards belonging to Palestinians pre-1948, I created my own version of a Palestinian passport to be used by any Palestinian person experiencing the effects of diaspora.

How to Build a Wall in Your Local Community

8.5”x11”
2018

Book project created in collaboration with Prerna. Examining violent colonial structures of bureaucracy, terminology, and borders.

You Sat at the Fountain While You Stole the House on the Hill

Artist book, photolithography, gouache, monotype, etching, letterpress
10"x13" 
2017

This book is both a factual documentation of and an emotional response to my research of digital archives and blogs; specifically photographs in which the house my family used to live in is shown being stolen by a Zionist militia in 1948. Using hand drawn diagrams, family photographs, and other archival material, the book explains the theft of my family’s house.

Civil War

Pamphlet book, screen print, letterpress
6"x7" 
2017

Made up of interviews with my grandmother and mother about their experiences during the Lebanese Civil War.

The Other Day I Visited My Homeland on Google Maps

Pamphlet book, letterpress
6"x7" 
2017

Exploring the idea of visiting the village my great grandparents are from, a place where I have never been, through Google Street View.

Ms. I'tidal's Small Wisdoms

Monotype, screen print, digital print
8.5"x5.5" 
2017

Family stories, traditions, and superstitions documented in a short comic; dedicated to my Sunday Arabic school teacher, Ms. I'tidal.