Wednesday, 30 April 2008

The Barbican: Homeland Lost

Photograph © Alan Gignoux-All Rights Reserved

The Barbican Arts Centre in the heart of the city of London is showing Homeland Lost, an exhibition consisting of 16 black and white images taken by the photojournalist Alan Gignoux. These photographs of Palestinian refugees, displaced from their homes by Israel in 1948, are an artistic slice of life from a dramatic point in Middle Eastern history.

The photographs provide "an antidote to a western media saturated with images of exiled Palestinians as either extremists or victims, whereas the majority are individuals trying to build a life for themselves in complex circumstances.

Homeland Lost shows from 18 April 2008 - 2 May 2008.

The Independent newspaper reports that "Jonathan Hoffman, of the Jewish umbrella group the Zionist Federation, has complained to the London arts venue's director Nicholas Kenyon about captions accompanying the photos, which state that the 800,000 Palestinians who left their homes were "uprooted" and "dispossessed". He accused the Barbican of "falsifying" history.

Mr Hoffman is also quoted as saying ""The exhibition contains historical distortions which have the effect of demonising Israel."

There's a word in Egyptian slang (perhaps it's no longer used) that came to mind when I read Mr Hoffman's statement...the word is "Bagaha" or effrontery. Its Yiddish approximate equivalent is "chutzpah" but in this context, it's chutzpah squared.