“we should all be much more like plants and grow anywhere, together with other plants in the same flowerpot.”
During the summer of 2016 I (Najat el Hani) attempted to visit Israel and The Occupied Palestinian Territories to meet two Freedom of Stories photographers, one of them was Inbal Sophia Drue. Sadly, I was not able to make it through the Jordanian and Israeli border, also known as the Allenby Bridge. Reason for this was my former visit to the region and activities as a volunteer at the An-Najah University in Nablus. According to the Israeli Defence Forces this was seen as a threat. And thus, after a 10 hour wait at the border I was sent back to Jordan. To say the least about other emotions and thoughts it was a pity as I never had the opportunity to meet with Inbal in person. Luckily the internet offers the world alternative platforms to not only Skype through our first meeting, but also to share the local stories we wanted to be told.
About her series and perception on freedom Inbal explains that it does not merely entail borders, conflict and peace. She narrates that also existential realities such as personal freedoms without ethnic or religious prejudices are of importance: live and let live. According to Inbal, the world can only move closer to a more peaceful society by advocating for more open mindedness, open heartedness and positivity as a solid basis. Within her discourse she sees the arts as a strong and important communicative field where few words are needed in order to express. Visual arts and similar cultural fields are atmospheres through which Inbal advocates for peace building and sharing her realities. In [.. tittle…] she provides selected images of her world in Israel.*
* These are selected fragments from an extensive interview and informal online conversations held with Inbal Drue since the summer of 2016.
About the series:
Coexisting Halides demonstrates what everyday life in Israel is like through random exposures. Halides are the material that create the image once reacted to chemicals on a photo paper. For this series it represents the translation from general broadcasts tot personal storytelling.
1. The 480 Bus:
This service runs between the cities of Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. This journey – between every day and Holiness, between Secularism and religion – is only 50 minutes in a capsule that captures people in one end and releases them in the other. The transition that no one sees is what happens on the bus during these 50 minutes.
Only in this Mosque I was allowed, for the first time in my life. I bent over to the ground and when I was carpet-level I faced forward and looked for God. It was not there. Instead I found peace. In me. Maybe that is the key.
3. This picture shows a very natural and rare image of a Muslim lady teaching a Jewish man how to work a computer with a secular young adult next to them. It looks so normal, yet is not often to be seen on this side of the world.
4. Piece of Cake:
Mussa’s bakery in Jaffa is here since 1925. Who were the clients in 1925? What did they look like? I’m proud to be part of this society in 2017 when ladies can be covered or uncovered, work and often speak more than one language.
© Inbal Sophia Drue