Venues: KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin
With his video installations and photographic series, Guez creates direct access to a narration, which embodies Palestine and Israel’s past and present at once. Guez questions ideas around ethnic, gender, and national identities, by exploring the history of his family; a family in which elements of Christian, Arab, Jewish, Palestinian, Tunisian and Israeli histories merge. Very personal, yet mediated through the camera, the protagonists of his video works move between the levels of the narration, thus, multi-layered identities surface and internal and external points of views become apparent.
* Tָhe exhibition was accompanied by a publication including essays by Susanne Pfeffer, Felix Ensslin, and Ariella Azoulay. Published by: DISTANZ Verlag, Berlin
Guez's series of photographs titled "al-Lydd" depicts the remains of the Palestinian city in today's Lydda, such as the hovering floor of a Palestinian house in a sea of thorns, a pit in the ground where there used to be a house or leftover gravel bear witness to the city's history.
Archival inkjet print, 50—35 cm, 2010.
Samira, a young Palestinian woman, is a first-year psychology student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her colloquial Hebrew, sartorial choices and mannerisms render her indistinguishable from her Jewish Israeli contemporaries. Guez, her cousin, asks her to recount a recent experience: in the restaurant where she works as a waitress, her Arabic name evoked racist responses, causing her boss to ask her to change her name to the more Jewish-sounding Sima; they finally settle on Mira. As she recalls the incident and repeats it at Guez's prodding, she begins to articulate the complexity of her struggle with prejudice, gender bias and misogyny.
Video, 13:40 minutes, 2009.
Guez's grandfather, Jacob Monayer (1920-2011) recalls the watershed events of July 13, 1948, when his hometown, al-Lydd, was conquered by Israeli military forces. Most of the town's population was forced into exile. Jacob was among about one thousand Palestinians who sought refuge in the basement of St. George church. After the war, they were not permitted to return to their homes, which were looted, and were resettled in a fenced-in area around the church dubbed the "Lod Ghetto". Guez's family eventually became citizens of the newly established State of Israel.
Video, 13:18 minutes, 2009.
Guez's uncle, Sami Monayer (b. 1956) articulates the complexity of his range of possible identities (Arab/Christian/Israeli/Palestinian) situated between what he describes as "Eastern" and "Western" cultures. While he attempts to express his position, his wife and daughters (heard off-camera) interrupt him, arguing with the ways in which he chooses to define his identity as a Palestinian who is also a citizen of Israel. Sami traces the oscillations between his sense of belonging to alienation from the majority groups in Israel.
Video, 6:00 minutes, 2009.
Watermelons under the Bed
Guez's camera dwells on his grandfather, Jacob Monayer, in intimate settings with watermelons and sabra cacti. Intermingled with these quotidian moments, Jacob's son, Samih, recalls his parents' process of adjusting to life in Israel after 1948 and the choices they made for their children. The watermelon and the sabra cactus carry symbolic significance linking identity and place within both Palestinian and Israeli cultures.
Two-channel video installation, 8:00, 2010.