An Exhibition by Elias Halabi
Bethlehem, Between Sight and Insight is an exhibition that displays a collection of photography that reflects the rich cultural and social heritage of Bethlehem. The exhibition celebrates the city’s having been selected as the Capital of Arab Culture for 2020, and pays tribute to places and individuals who have become an invaluable part not only of the city itself but also of its identity and culture.
Palestinian photographer Elias Halabi used social documentation as a style and the camera as a tool to shed light on places, people, topics, scenes, and everyday life in the city. Thus, he documents and recounts the city’s heritage and identity, its beautiful nature, architecture, and the majestic stance of its churches, monasteries, and mosques. In addition, the exhibition highlights portraits of people as they go about their daily lives and work, something that is not necessarily familiar to everyone today.
Halabi’s academic background in social sciences and psychology strongly encouraged him to use his lens along with his passion for photography to document the socio-cultural aspect of human nature in Palestine, in general, and in Bethlehem, in particular. As he observed the region’s photographic archive, Halabi realized that it only focused on life, architecture of the past century, or the political conflict. That motivated him to add to the existing social and cultural documentation of the region.
Bethlehem, Between Sight and Insight, curated by Ahmad Hifnawi, is not only a visual narration to interact with the details and people around us, it is also an invitation from the artist to notice and contemplate important details that we overlook due to our hectic daily lives. It also encourages us to restore sight and insight to our lives by returning to the rhythm and pace of a slower and more serene lifestyle.
Elias Halabi was born in Jerusalem in 1984 and presently lives in Bethlehem. The exhibition hosted by Bab idDeir Gallery in Bethlehem opened on November 14, 2019 and runs until January 10, 2020.