To mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, 77 faces of Palestine are being exhibited at the premises of the United Nations’ headquarters in Geneva.
The exhibition showcases Palestinian photographic memory, one that started off at the end of the 19th century and up to the establishment of Israel in 1948.
The exhibition comprises a very important memory for the Palestinian people, because it features aspects of society from their history.
It stands as a cultural, economic and political proof that negates the poisonous claims of Balfour, the British minister of foreign affairs, who said in 1917 that Palestine is a land with no people, calling for making it the home of Jews since they were a people with no land.
The photographs were taken by orientalists who visited Palestine during the last decades of the 19th century.
Felex Bonfis arrived in Palestine in 1880, and focused on taking portraits in Nazareth and Bethlehem. His works are well-known in France.
The exhibition includes work by Dumas, another French photographer who visited Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, the brothers Jerome and Jean Tharaud, and the photo researcher Sarah Graham Brawn. Other British, German and American photographers are also exhibited.
The collection also includes works by Palestinian photographers, including Karima Abboud, the first female professional Palestinian photographer who is from Nazareth, and Palestinian photographer Hanna Safieh from Jerusalem, who was very interested in documenting Palestinian social life and touristic and religious sites.
Overall the exhibition presents a true image of Palestine and its people, as the photographs were collected from various associations and Palestinian families who lived through this era and witnessed the massive injustices that tarnished the beautiful image of a cosmopolitan and often tolerant way of life.
Photographs and text are courtesy of Palestinian artist Ahmed Dari.