Ahlam Shibli: Max Wigram Gallery

By Demos, T. J. | Artforum International, November 2006 | Go to article overview

Ahlam Shibli: Max Wigram Gallery


Demos, T. J., Artforum International


In one black-and-white snapshot, Palestinian photographer Ahlam Shibli captures a seemingly prosaic handshake between an officer and a younger graduate during an Israeli military ceremony that concludes training camp. Fleetingly documentary rather than officially contrived, the photograph bears an oblique viewpoint that situates us behind the soldier, whose downward gaze falls deferentially--and perhaps insecurely--below the piercing confidence of his superior's. It is one of eighty-five photographs that comprise "Trackers," 2005, a series portraying the everyday life of young soldiers entering the Israel Defense Forces. The surprise hits when we learn that these men are not Jewish Israelis fulfilling their conscription, but voluntarily enlisted Palestinian Arabs of Bedouin descent.

Given the present conditions of political polarization, one might suspect that for Shibli, this phenomenon represents a double treachery--Bedouins betraying both their own ethnic group (also the artist's) and other Palestinians. But remarkably, the photographs do not overtly condemn or politicize. Instead, the artist's approach is documentary and neutral, elaborated with objective distance and through intimate close-ups of individuals. The resulting group of large-scale prints in color and black and white, thoroughly covering the gallery's walls, encourages a suspension of ethical judgment and presents a psychosocial study of a marginal culture.

That Shibli effectively teases out the complexity of her subjects' chosen path makes these images compelling. The series emphasizes nonheroic shots that humbly show soldiers during various exercises--learning to fire guns, apply camouflage makeup, hold grenades--and are free from scenes of conflict or of interactions with Israeli or Arab civilians. Portraying camaraderie among cadets, the photographs also grant access to their domestic lives during days off, depicting the young men riding horses--a longstanding Arab symbol of freedom--among hilltop villages. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Ahlam Shibli: Max Wigram Gallery
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.