Occupied Pleasures

Tanya Habjouqa's Solo Exhibition

11/04/2014 - 25/05/2014

The OCCUPIED PLEASURES exhibition by Palestinian photographer Tanya Habjouqa, among the special events of the fifth edition of the Middle East Now festival. The reportage on the daily life’s small pleasures in the Occupied Territories, winner of a World Press Photo 2014, on stage at the Aria Art Gallery from 11 April to 25 May 2014.

The Occupied Pleasures exhibition of Palestinian photographer Tanya Habjouqa will be screened in Italian for over a month, from April 11 to May 25, at the Aria Art Gallery in Florence (Borgo Santi Apostoli, 40) as a special edition of the fifth edition of the festival.

Tanya Habjouqa is a photographer of Palestinian origins and a top-notch name of contemporary photography from the Arab world, and with this project she has just won a prestigious World Press Photo 2014 in the “daily life” category and received the Magnum Foundation 2013 Emergency Fund.

More than 4 million Palestinians live in occupied territories, in Gaza and in East Jerusalem, where the political situation affects the most intimate moments of daily life. The possibility of movement is very limited, and the threat of violence is often around the corner. All this creates an irrepressible desire for the smallest of the pleasures, and an incredible sense of humor over the absurdities that 47 years of occupation have created. Occupied Pleasures is a work that explores all this, the rare moments of truce, pleasure and fun in the lives of Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza, men and women living in difficult political and economic conditions that have shaped their lives and their identity for decades. Despite the impossibility for the Palestinians to lead a “normal lifestyle”, and in the midst of this creepy reality, men, women and children can still steal small moments of “sometimes bizarre” moments of happiness, which the photographer has told with a series of shots of great visual power. In Gaza, where 5 minutes of motorboat ride embody the concept of freedom for a generation of young people imprisoned in such a densely populated enclave; women doing Yoga on the backdrop of the hills behind Bethlehem, children diving into a plastic pool under the West Bank trees, guys parkoured among the Gaza palaces, or the muscular body builders exercising in the gym, and then the family card games on the roofs of the Dehisheh refugee camp, the girls who are photographed in the exotic photo studio of Jericho’s Banana Land Amusement Park … “Busy Pleasures” that bring in gleaming hopes of hope, dignity and laughter, each of which ignores and takes away the stresses and emblematic labors of a busy reality.

Tanya Habjuqa, of Palestinian origin, was born in Jordan, who grew up in the United States, and obtained a Master in Global Media and Middle East Politics at SOAS in London. He has worked as a reporter from various fronts, such as Iraq, Lebanon, Darfur and Gaza, and more recently devoted himself to documenting the daily life of Palestinian women in the Gaza Strip. After starting his career in Texas, where he talked about Mexican immigrant communities and urban poverty, he later decided to return to the Middle East. Particularity of Tanya’s work is to tell by very close delicate stories related to human rights violations and social and gender discrimination. He got some of the most prestigious international photojournalism prizes, worked for major world institutions, and published his reportage on the New York Times, Le Monde, Time Magazine, Wall Street Journal, National, Al Jazeera, Washington Post, Boston Globe and Business Week. He currently lives with his family in East Jerusalem, and with Occupied Pleasures won the second prize at World Press Photo 2014 in the “Daily Life” category.