The artwork created by Emily Jacir that I am including in the imaginary gallery is Salt of the Sea and Where We Come From (Osama) 2001-2003.
The question “If I could do something for you, anywhere in Palestine, what would it be?” was the impetus for the artwork Where We Come From (Osama) created between 2001 and 2003 by Emily Jacir. Soliciting requests from Palestinians who faced severe travel restrictions, she sought to realize the wishes of those Palestinians forbidden to enter their homeland. Carrying an American passport provided Jacir with the freedom to move around her homeland that the people she represented no longer had.
One such request was to visit a mother’s grave, place flowers and pray on her birthday from Munir, unable to visit the grave only a few kilometres away because of these travel restrictions. Presented beside the panel with the request is a photograph of Jacir’s shadow over the grave, a fleeting image of a moment in time where Jacir fulfilled these wishes. Freedom of Travel across Palestine is no longer available to Jacir either, and this work could not have been made, if Jacir had embarked on this project at this point in time.
The film Salt of the Sea by Emily Jacir seeks to bring to light the tensions experienced by those wishing to return to their Palestinian homeland. The film is set from a female perspective and seeks to highlight the role of women returning to Palestine attempting to regain that sense of home and belonging. Following the story of an American born Palestinian-American Soraya who returns to Palestine to recover her grandfather’s life savings which were confiscated by the state. Salt of the Sea chronicles the love that Suraya has for her homeland and the rediscovery of an intimacy with her homeland that she had only previously known through her parents stories. Highlighting also her desire to take back her right to return to her homeland, this connects her to the desire of many Palestinians to return to their beloved homeland.