Saturday, October 2, 2010


Benji Boy has been a Busy Beee. By which I mean he has spent countless hours sitting and painting all over the valley just below where we are living, and where he grew up roaming around. 

Wadi Shami, is one of many military restriction zones separating the Israel from the Palestinian Territories. Funny thing is, this conflict, this military restriction on building and occupation, is the only thing keeping the valley and the heritage it contains intact. Saving it from the bulldozing site clearing tactics of the Palestinians and the Ultra-development takeover tactics implemented by Israel.


Benji Boyadgian

Bethlehem, September 2010

The focus of this exhibition is to address the destruction of the traditional landscape and heritage. The images hang solemnly on the gallery walls, a re-memory of a heritage on the edge of disappearance. The selection depicts the experience of a single valley, but can be seen as a lens to understand a situation occurring in many valleys and hilltops throughout the country. The landscape is subdued and transformed by many forces; territorial war, demographic growth, and none or bad urban planning, etc.

These paintings are “in-situ” depictions of Wad el Shami and the remnants of a traditional relationship to the land and its inherent morphology. They are fragments of “vanishing landscapes,” and a vernacular knowledge that survived centuries and is now subjected to destruction and neglect.

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All war, hatred, racism, oppression and terror aside (i know that that is a lot to put aside, especially given the context but just bare with me a minute...)
Both sides are fucking up in big ways with regards to the landscape and environment
Seems to me that all the fighting is about the land
In this us vs. them battle, the land has become nothing but a pawn, a concept, a strategy in this struggle.
forgetting the true importance of why this place is so special, removed from its physicality, cultural importance and connection to season and agriculture.
ours, not theirs is the rhetoric from wherever you're standing. 
looking from hill to hill
looking from jew to arab
looking from arab to jew

I wish it were that easy to explain.
"hey everyone, we all love this land, can't we just share it! treat her kindly and continue practicing our rituals with tolerance and patience!"
I'm pretty sure the concept (the words exist) of patience doesn't directly translate into hebrew or arabic. 

here are some drawings I hung in Benji's Vanishing Landscapes exhibition. A visual commentary on contemporary land occupation strategies of Israel and Palestine. Hung as a triptych using our view from Abu Fahkris Lab as direct inspiration. Har Homa (Israeli settlement) on the left, No Mans Land (where we live) middle, the Agglomeration of Bethlehem (Palestine) on the right.

(click to images to enlarge)


This is a part of the urban study work done for the Vanishing Landscapes Exhibition (Bethlehem, September, 2010). 

Following the implementation of the 1993 Oslo accords, the agglomeration of Bethlehem expanded drastically within restricted boundaries (Zone A,B), consequently devouring the traditional landscape in the vicinity. The physical destruction inflicted by the contemporary building modes is also degrading the heritage of a seasonal life-cycle, connectivity/identity to place. 

(click on maps to enlarge)

Friday, October 1, 2010


the newest squatter of Team Abu Fahkri, 


met him one day when he snuck into the house
gave him some milk and we played games
he showed up in the evenings to get some food and kick it
you know, play with string, get some ear scratch lovin
he even came by to help plant the garden 
and snag some lizards

haven't seen him in a few days
he is an independent kitty
but maybe he just got fattened up and bounced
or that shifty one eared cat chased him out of bounds
either way there's a mouse in the house and we could use his help

come home Ruefuss
earn ya keep