Art Academy Hosts ‘Stories We Tell’ Photo Exhibition

RAMALLAH, May 6, 2013 (WAFA) – The International Academy of Art Monday hosted the first art exhibition, “Stories We Tell,” in the city of Ramallah presenting over 40 photographs taken by Palestinian amateur photographers.

American photographer and artist Todd Drake recently conducted a number of workshops in Jerusalem and Ramallah to train around 40 young Palestinians on how to tell their personal stories through photography.

“I am really interested in turning young people on to the power of visual photography and how it can be used to tell stories,” Todd told WAFA.

“I think this is really critical today,” he said. “If you don’t tell your story, other people will tell it for you and often times when they do its not complete or the truth.”

Todd traveled as a guest photographer of the United States Consulate in Jerusalem to conduct a number of workshops in Ramallah and Jerusalem and at the same time exhibit some of his own photography which tackles daily life in society.

He pointed out that it was harder for photographers in Jerusalem to open up and express their emotions through their work. He thinks that there was some resistance with some students to express their stories, probably because of their harder reality.

Todd expressed admiration for many of the pictures taken by the students especially one of a man suffering from Alzheimer who walks into a checkpoint thinking he is going to the mosque to pray but then realizes that he can’t.

Abed Alrahman Moghrabi, a biology student from Jericho, took part in the training and was very excited to see his photograph among other pictures hanging on the wall.

He said, describing his photo of the window of an old house in Black and white, “I really love this photograph. It shows the beauty of this old Palestinian home in a way that I find spectacular.”

Other students were enthusiastically telling the stories behind their photos while taking pictures of themselves with their trainer, work of art and families who came to witness their first photography exhibition.

Todd clarified that after ending the exhibit on May 18, he will be showing the photos of the young photographers at the University South Carolina in the US and will hopefully broadcast their stories on radios across the United States.

“I would like to encourage anyone interested in helping the Palestinians to use art and photography in storytelling,” said Todd. “The rest of the world has to see that Palestinians are humans and then their hearts will go out for them and hopefully actions will follow.”

Minister of Culture Siham Barghouti expressed delight with the art work of the young Palestinians.

“These photos represent each and every photographer’s village, city and life.” she said. “We have to keep dreaming and resisting to protect our right to exist,” she added.

Source: WAFA News