Watchtowers, West Bank (Art Fund Collection of Middle Eastern Photography)
- Art Funded
- Each 50 x 40 cm
- Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg
This is an Art Fund initiative for the British Museum and V&A to acquire a collection of 20th century and contemporary photography and digital images by artists from the Middle East (whether living in their countries of origin or outside). The Art Fund has given the two museums grants over £150,000 for the collection and additional support for the tour of the collection. This series was inspired by Bernd and Hilla BechersÂ’ project to document the disappearing industrial architecture of Europe in the 1960s, which continued for almost forty years. Batniji established a similar typology of the military watchtowers in Palestine. Significantly, BatnijiÂ’s project registers the attempt (or the situational difficulty in trying to attempt) to follow the BechersÂ’ method. The particularly perilous conditions of these photographs render them compromised. As a Palestinian born in Gaza, Batniji is not authorised to return to the West Bank, so he delegated a Palestinian photographer to carry out these photographs. The artist explains, Â‘They are out of focus, clumsily framed, and imperfectly lit. In this territory one cannot install the heavy equipment of the BechersÂ’ or take the time to frame the perfect position, let alone afford to wait for the ideal light conditionsÂ’.
Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg.