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When The Grapes Were Sour

6 June - 15 June

P21 Gallery is pleased to present When The Grapes Were Sour, a solo exhibition by Palestinian artist Rasha Al Jundi.

“We must choose the identity, not let the identity choose us”. 

Hamzeh, 27, from Al Mansi – Haifa and Burqa – Nablus.

On a late afternoon in October 2022, Palestinian artist Rasha Al Jundi, decided to apply her rooted traditional embroidery to a small 4×6 inch self portrait. She was testing the application process and how it can be done in a way that both preserves the image and creates a new one simultaneously. The art that she learned through maternal figures on both sides of her family has been an integral part of her being. She wears it, displays it around her home and applies it. This time, she wanted to employ it as a self-expression of bring out the constant struggle of being a Palestinian exile and what that state of mind puts forward in terms of loneliness, questions of identity and a feeling of constant loss.

As a result, the project “When The Grapes Were Sour” was born.  This ongoing web-based multimedia documentary photography project combines digital black and white portrait photography, audio and applied traditional Palestinian embroidery to selected prints. Depending on the story, related archival images, from private or open sources, are also incorporated.

It has been 76 years since the Palestinian people suffered the traumatic events that led to the Nakba, or catastrophe, which has started in the early months of the year 1948. While the Nakba climaxed on May 15th, and led to the forced expulsion of more than 800,000 Palestinians, it continued throughout that same year. Many argue that it continues, to this day, in the form of gradual ethnic cleansing. Indeed, since October 7th 2023, the massive military assault that was launched by the “israeli” occupation forces on the besieged Gaza Strip and parts of the occupied West Bank, has displayed clear genocidal intent both in practice and in words broadcasted by  various “israeli” political figures.  Direct bombing, forced displacement, home demolitions, daily assaults, direct assassinations of Palestinian journalists, medical professionals & blockading of this indigenous population are ongoing.

According to 2022 figures from the Palestine Land Society, there are more than 14 million Palestinians inside the occupied territories and around the world, nine million of whom are registered refugees. This renders Palestinians the largest refugee population in the world.

Many Palestinian exiles whether in urban, rural or refugee camp settings still have hope to return to the homeland. With time, this dream and internationally acknowledged right gets more complicated. Yet it never completely disappears from the back of the minds and hearts of some exiles. Others chose to erase their connection to their roots either due to trauma, shame or their own hope to shape a firm identify by adopting a new one.

Through this project, the lead artist aims to create personal accounts of individuals who identify as Palestinian exiles around the world. She chose to apply cross-stitched embroidery by hand to selected portraits to place herself in each story through this embroidery.

P21 Gallery, 21-27 Chalton St, London NW1 1JD

Opening Reception: Thursday, 6th June, 6-8 pm

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