Rula Halawani You Mother
Rula Halawani: For You Mother
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On 11 January 2023, Ayyam Gallery presented a solo exhibition by Palestinian photographer Rula Halawani. The show titled For You Mother will end on 23 February 2023.

The For You Mother series is divided into two parts. The first one that was worked on in 2018-2020 reflects and depicts Rula’s Mother, Asma’s, words. It features eleven photomontages of archival images of Palestinian families before 1948 and pictures of the Palestinian landscape taken by Rula.

Rula finished the second part of the series in 2022 after becoming a recipient of the 2021 Sheikh Saoud Al Thani Project Award in partnership with the Qatar Foundation. This part pays tribute to Asma’s teachings, beliefs, and lifestyle. It comprises the result of treated and damaged photographic negatives.

Rula Halawani, Untitled 7, 2022. Archival print. 30 7/10 × 39 2/5 in | 78 × 100 cm. Frame included. Edition 1/5

Asma once said: “Even when we die and leave this world, our spirits remain, floating in the skies of our county, Palestine.” Rula says that while working on this series, she finally understood what it meant “after visualizing [her Mother’s] thoughts and feelings”.

In the exhibited artworks, the photographer is questioning mother, motherland, and mother nature. Bringing back her childhood memories, she explores how the Palestinian landscape and natural environment have changed in an attempt to revive the nature and spirits of those who disappeared and still disappear.

Rula’s Mother spoke about how Palestine has lost its beauty, how the traditional Palestinian landscape has changed. “Palestinian wildlife always held a dear and near place in Mother’s heart”, Rula says. She remembers how her Mother was working in a suburban village outside of Jerusalem and would take her siblings and her to the villages to have picnics. There, she taught them that one should respect the environment and nature. 

Rula Halawani, Untitled 3, For My Father Series, 2015. Archival print. 39 2/5 × 59 1/10 in | 100 × 150 cm. Edition of 5

About the artist

Rula Halawani (born in 1964, East Jerusalem) is a Palestinian photographer and educator who resides in Jerusalem and shoots and produces images of the changes taking place daily on the Palestinian territory.

She started as a photojournalist and worked for many newspapers and magazines; in 1988, she turned to visual arts. In 1989, Halawani graduated from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, with a Bachelor of Art degree in Advanced Photography. In 2001, she received a MA degree in Photographic Studies from the University of Westminster, London.

Rula Halawani, Untitled 1, Irrational Series, 2003. Archival print. 31 9/10 × 44 9/10 in | 81 × 114 cm. Edition of 5

Halawani has participated in such exhibitions as the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa (2017); The Hagop Kevorkian Center, New York (2016), National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC (2016); Ayyam Gallery, 12 Alserkal Avenue, Dubai (2016); Selma Feriani Gallery, London (2013, 2010); Al Hoash Gallery, Jerusalem (2009); and many others. 

The photographer’s artworks are featured in the international collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Nadour Collection, Germany; Victoria & Albert Museum,London; The British Museum; London, The Khalid Shoman Foundation, Amman; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, among others.

To get more information about the For You Mother exhibition, please visit its official web page.

You may also be interested in visiting Natural Sources, the solo exhibition of Jochen Lempert.