Grapevines run through the hills of Hebron in Palestine. I think back to being a child running through my situ’s (grandmother’s) backyard full of fruit, full of grapes. Grapes have always been a symbol of Palestine for me.
In “Reaching,” I am reaching for Palestine, yearning to be in the land my baba (father) calls home. The land I am not allowed to live in. The land where my family and friends have no movement under the occupation. I want to live in a free land with my family, the warm breeze, and the dead sea.
This piece references the act of being hand-fed grapes. I wanted to give myself this luxury and recognition of power. On another level, I began experiencing psychosomatic pain in my arms throughout 2019 and I wanted to find ways to create work without my hands. I was longing for dependence on myself, my body, and for my people’s right to self-determination.
I recreated the vines in my situ’s yard as a pulley system with my own body using twine, hooks, and grapes. I lift my legs up, down, and side to side while maneuvering my body to lower the three grape bunches close enough to my mouth for me to take a bite. Within 35 minutes I eat every grape (besides the ones that fell on the floor) while listening to five popular Arabic love songs by Fairuz and Asmahan that make me feel so strong but vulnerable. I finish chewing the last grape, then untie my foot and reattach the twine to the wall.