New East Digital Archive

Photo of the week: this Palestinian structure is more than meets the eye

Photo of the week: this Palestinian structure is more than meets the eye
Alicja Dobrucka, from the series Houses (31°23′30.67″N 35°6′44.45″E), Palestine (2012-15)

5 August 2016

From the series Houses (31°23′30.67″N 35°6′44.45″E), Palestine, 2012-15 by Alicja Dobrucka

Our photo of the week by Polish photographer Alicja Dobrucka was taken in the Palestinian village of Susya, a Israeli-occupied territory in the West Bank. It appears to be a temporary dwelling or disaster shelter, when in actual fact the structure is more permanent than it seems.

Since 1991, the village has had to be rebuilt several times after being razed by Israel settlers. As a result, this house and many others have been disguised by residents as temporary structures to prevent further demolition.

Dobrucka first visited the West Bank in 2012 and experienced first-hand the way life for the Palestinian community is disrupted on a daily basis.

“The land of the Palestinians ends where the house ends. It is dangerous for them to go out into the fields into the proximity of the settlers. Children are frequently attacked on their way to school when passing near Israeli settlements. The environments of Palestinian houses are no-go areas, are non-spaces,” Dobrucka describes in the introduction to Houses, a series devoted to these homes.

Though seemingly precarious, the camouflaged houses are symbols of resistance and endurance.

“To take pictures of these houses in Susya is akin to taking a portrait,” Dobrucka writes. Set against a black backdrop, the composition of the photograph recalls classical portraiture, with tarpaulin in place of heavy cascades of fabric.

See more photos from the series here.