You Sat at The Fountain While You Stole the House on the Hill, Katherine E. Nash Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

Artifacts included in the wall installation (from left to right): You Sat at the Fountain While You Stole the House on the HillUltimate ArchivalTrophyFN Model D; Tenderly HeldBullets/Medals Adorn Chests in Different WaysMap of a Nameless PlaceDo You Want the Deed to My House? I Have it in Every FormPass(t) Due to Iffat TajiPass(t) Due to Me

Artifacts included in vitrine: The Taji Family's Fine China, SilverwarePassport, Two Medals from Haganah Militia; 52nd Battalion, Givati Brigade

Photography by Prerna

Using the strategies employed by Rona Sela, Saidiya Hartman, and Ariella Azoulay, I critically read the historical material and denotation presented within Israeli and Palestinian digital archives and historical accounts, and contextualize them with family oral histories to create a counter narrative to dominant Zionist culture which occupies my family’s as well as the people of Palestine’s land, history, and existence. Created for my BFA thesis exhibition at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery, this installation specifically focuses on 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.

I create a counter narrative, a temporal space where the “what could have been,” which I define in this context as the refashioning of Palestinian narrative, the preserving of a history that is actively held hostage or erased, and the fabrication of artifacts relevant to my family’s life and theft of livelihood, is able to emerge. In the critical reading of historical information both within and outside of the institutions that hold power over Palestinian narratives, I make historical information, which has intentionally been erased, present both physically and temporally. The installation which lies somewhere between historical documentation and art, aims to dismantle harmful dominant narratives that cultivate and celebrate acts of colonialism, occupation, and genocide in the Palestine and the Arab world and create spaces for placeless and contested histories to exist.