Maysaa and Fetheya

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    Fetheya (Lightbox 102cm x 88cm, 2013)

Info: Diptych; Light box (2); 89 x 103.3 x 15 cm; Edition of 5 + 2 AP

Exhibited: Großer Wasserspeicher Berlin, Gallery Mario Kreuzberg

Text: I travelled to Jordan with the intent to visit the Al Zaatari refugee camp on the Jordanian border. The Arab Women Organisation (AWO) advised me against visiting the camp as it had become too dangerous for anyone wielding a camera. And invited me to accompany them to a support clinic run by the Al-Dhleil Women Association nearby the camp instead. The clinic is a place where women could go with their children to seek support.

Two of the women I met at the clinic, Maysaa, and Fetheya, invited me back to their homes, where I carefully asked them what they had managed to bring with them when they fled. They replied that they had brought important documents with them. But I pressed to find out which ordinary objects they gathered, and asked if they themselves would arrange them for me to photograph. Maysaa explained that she aspired to work as a hairdresser and Fetheya explained how important pickles were to her culture. The arrangements resemble family portraits in a representation of both their aspirations and their roots. In return, they asked me not to forget them.

“Maysaa and Fetheya departs from figural representations of women to explore other transmissions of identity. Maysaa and Fetheya considers ordinary objects and daily life as crucial markers of our essential selves and how we relate to one another. In photographs of the possessions that two women refugees carried with them from Syria to Jordan, these everyday objects become portraits of each woman, reflecting, respectively, Maysaa’s aspirations for the future, and Fetheya’s desire to preserve her culture.”

Anne Wheeler and Shawna Vesco