Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, August 2012, Page 57

Music & Arts

Photographer/Farmer Vivien Sansour's Agro-Resistance

Stunning photographs of Palestinian farms will grace the walls of the Jerusalem Fund Gallery from July 27 through August as part of Vivien Sansour's project to put a face on Palestinian agriculture as a form of resistance. A farmer herself (she grows almond trees) as well as an independent photographer, Sansour has worked to promote Palestinian agriculture and food products. She most recently helped Canaan Fair Trade, which empowers marginalized Palestinian rural communities caught in conflict so they can sustain their livelihoods and culture by promoting sustainable farming practices.

Sansour's work centers on the farmers themselves, giving each a face and a voice, telling the stories of their lives and work through her sensitive images. More than a romantic idea, Palestinians' cultivation of their land contains the seeds of resistance. Her large-scale photos enable the viewer to walk the fields, experiencing the relationship of farmer to land, seeing how the traditional ways of planting and harvesting, of cooking the old recipes, form an historical continuum, the fruits of their labors feeding the body and the soul of Palestine today.

Food is an important element of Sansour's work, with films of cooking methods and recipe cards for the viewers to take with them.

Sansour wants her work to emphasize the fact that "Palestinian farmers have always been there, they have always been part of the landscape, not an imposed or artificially created presence." This continuum of presence is what she terms "agro-resistance." Her photographs are guaranteed to create this presence in the Jerusalem Fund gallery, allowing the audience, in their consumption of the both art and the food, to participate in that resistance.

—Dagmar Painter

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