Return to the Negev Desert

A Small Protest, Lakiya, Negev Desert, 2015, Susan Harbage Page

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In 1996 I spent two months making audio recordings and photographs with women weavers in Lakiya, Israel, a community “officially” founded in 1985 as part of an Israeli government project to stabilize Bedouins in permanent settlements. My work explored issues of belonging, empowerment, community, religion, and borders. It was a remarkable opportunity. Now, nearly twenty years later,  I returned to Lakiya for a community celebration earlier this month. Returning to this village allowed me to experience and document the many changes in housing, the status of women, access to clean water and labor that have occurred in this border community.
 
My first visit to Lakiya was supported by a fellowship from the North Carolina Arts Council. My collection of photographs of the women’s weaving project from that visit in 1996 was titled “Almost Invisible.” The pictures were exhibited across the state at the Asheville Museum of Art, in Charlotte at The Light Factory Photographic Arts Center, in Greenville at East Carolina University, and in Raleigh at North Carolina State University. These photographs have also been collected by museums across the county including the Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. My photographs from the project were awarded second prize in the Bernice Abbott International Competition for Women in Documentary Photography and selected for publication in 2000 in Women in Documentary Photography Now.  

Here’s a photo from 1996. And the photo above is a small protest I did in support of the Bedouin Community and how they have been treated.

Zenab Al’Sannah, Lakiya, Negev Desert, 1996, Susan Harbage Page

 

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