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It was Paradise 2017-2018

Rachel Gadsden (UK) in collaboration with lead Palestinian artist Ali Saied Ashour (Hebron)

and emerging Palestinian artists Amna Hussein, Hossam Khdair and Mahmoud Abu Daghash

Under Siege by Mahmoud Darwish

Here on the slopes of hills, facing the dusk and the cannon of time.
Close to the gardens of broken shadows,
We do what prisoners do,
And what the jobless do:
We cultivate hope.

It was Paradise is a cross-cultural collaboration between UK and Palestinian artists, located in London, Liverpool, the West Bank and Gaza, which considers the effects upon individual and community of the sense of isolation and abandonment arising from physical and psychological confinement.

Inspired by the theme of Palestinian poet and author Mahmoud Darwish’s poem ‘Under Siege’, the object of the artistic collaboration above all is to cultivate hope, by the creation of visceral visual artwork, & digital films.

Taking a psycho-geographical approach the collaboration addresses global concerns about: migration, the lingering flight of refugee, disabled and bereaved people.

What it is to survive and to be human? What it is to empower and create a voice?

Introducing - It was Paradise

In May 2017, UK-based visual artist, Rachel Gadsden spent two weeks in Palestine working with four visual artists from the West Bank, as part of a research and development project funded by Unlimited. With the announcement of further funding to bring the artwork of the Palestinian artists to the UK, Gadsden talked to Colin Hambrook about the project.

Israeli occupation in war-torn Palestine has brought much bereavement and disability to the region. For disabled people injustice and restriction is a daily recurrence. For Gadsden, a key motivation in working with a group of Palestinian artists has been to support the cultivation of hope in the land where she spent much of her childhood.

Hossam Khadeir, Ali Saeid Ashour, Amna Hussein, and Mahmoud Abu Daghash have developed an ongoing connection with Gadsden, working with the intention of sharing stories with the world through their art. Together, the group has been working to develop a visual language to express global concerns about migration, the lingering flight of refugees, disabled and bereaved people.
Colin Hambrook  -Editor Disability Arts Online