The Christian Palestinian Archive (CPA)


The Christian Palestinian Archive (CPA) is a growing collection of scans of archival documents from the first half of the 20th century, documenting the personal histories of the Christian Palestinian community worldwide. The archive has been useful for architects, scholars, artists, sociologists, and curators as a source of knowledge for their own practice. Unlike other archives, the CPA is not engaged in reconstruction or conservation, and all "original" photographs are sent to their owners after being scanned and added to the archive.

The CPA has been built by individuals for their community. Families from the Palestinian diaspora are contributing representations of their family albums to the archive on a daily basis. Unlike state archives, the CPA project is not based on collections of professional photographers, but on a wide range of professionals and "amateurs" photographers mixed together. Therefore, the archive includes scans of postcards, professional studio photographs, wedding photographs, passport photographs, maps, and more.

The project emphasizes the importance of representations of images in two parallel practices: Aesthetical and historical. The first is the arrangement of the ingredients in the scanned material- the visual content of the image which the original photographer wanted to point at. The second is the material qualities of the original photograph—its surface texture etc. It presents the historic photograph not only as an image,
but also as an object. In other words, each JPEG effectively has two authors and two dates of creation: that of its original date and then the CPA's "revival" in a new form and context. 

12th Istanbul Biennial
The meaning of the term Scanograms is literally drawing with a scanner machine. Every Scanogram is made by three layers of scanning, each scan is programmed to feature a different aspect of the material, and then the artist composes the layers into one image. These fifteen scanograms , dating from 1938-1958, portray a woman, Samira, and her family. Each of the images documents an important event in their lives while they were together before Samira's family was exiled from Jaffa and dispersed to Lod, Amman, Cyprus, Cairo, and London. 
One of these works depict Samira's wedding in the Lod Ghetto in 1949, one year after what was a significant date for them: July 13, 1948. The day when her hometown was conquered by Israeli military forces. 

Series of manipulated readymades, 60x75 cm each, 2010.
"Scanograms # 2", September 2011, offers a visual disorder in the Zionist-Israeli narrative, which was designed in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. The project not only relates to the history of the Palestinians, but also to the modern narrative of nationality designing. It opens a door to contemplating the regime of identities in general, and Palestinian and Israeli identities in particular. By bringing together historical narratives with personal stories, the installation enables the viewer to examine his/her own cultural, national, aesthetic, and political perceptions. 

Series of manipulated readymades, 60x75x75 cm each, 2010. 
We are inviting participants from the Christian Palestinian Community to take part in a project, and contact us at: