The Longing Of The Stranger Whose Path Has Been Broken (Independent: 2018-present)
شوق الغريب للى تقطّع سبيله
Derived from a translated verse of Bedouin poetry The Longing Of The Stranger Whose Path Has Been Broken is a personal project that explores the liminal spaces in the Bedouin life in St. Catherine, South Sinai, Egypt. Questioning the idea of belonging and finding our place. Working collaboratively with members in the community, the project depicts a contemporary portrayal of the Bedou’ identity by inviting the community to engage with the photographic bodies of work; producing an outcome which includes their commentary in traditional mediums such as poetry, sound and embroidery.
The ongoing project started after almost seven years of research to discover my connection to the Bedouin community and how to work with such a vulnerable group given my complicated connection. I grew up not knowing where I come from. Having a peculiar last name that is translated to the word “guide”, our family was rumoured to have come from Bedouin and Palestinian roots, without further evidence. The title of the project is derived from Bedou’ poetry; referencing myself as the stranger and connecting to the the primary story - the Bedou’.
Since the end of the Israeli war and retrieval of Sinai by 1982, most surviving archives about Sinai were stored in the St. Catherine’s monastery; one of the oldest monasteries in the world protected by seven Muslim Bedouin tribes called Tawara. In accordance with the Egyptian government, archives are prohibited to be accessed - withholding the history of the land, its people and possibly my family’s.
Despite inhabiting and protecting the Sinai lands for hundreds of years, the Bedouin communities remain in constant struggle with authorities; facing discrimination, stigma & stereotyping. Described as traitors for remaining in Sinai during war they’re misrepresented in the media and boxed into a linear label. Remarked as closed off and a threat to modern societies - like many indigenous communities - Bedouins of Sinai, Egypt are treated as second-class citizens. Their way of life is threatened as the economy declines and lack of infrastructure, medical-care and educational access. Yet the Bedou’ remain and adapt, they are the keepers of the land and I intend to honour their story in this work.
The community became collaborators, engaging with the photographic bodies of work to produce a final outcome that includes their commentary in traditional mediums such as poetry, sound and embroidery. The commentary also serves as a form to highlight the social injustice and power struggle between the community and authorities as well as the social stigma surrounding Native communities.