On Photographing the Women of Gaza / Hyperallergic

Tanya Habjouqa, from the series “Women of Gaza.” “An English literature student at the Islamic University in Gaza takes a break with fellow students. She is eager to apply her English skills and says that her dream is to travel the world. The siege on Gaza makes travel near impossible for the vast majority of Gazans.” (all images courtesy of the artist unless otherwise noted)

Tanya Habjouqa, from the series “Women of Gaza.” “An English literature student at the Islamic University in Gaza takes a break with fellow students. She is eager to apply her English skills and says that her dream is to travel the world. The siege on Gaza makes travel near impossible for the vast majority of Gazans.” (all images courtesy of the artist unless otherwise noted)

CHICAGO — I didn’t come across Tanya Habjouqa‘s photo series Women of Gazaunderneath a sensationalized article headline about the Middle East. A friend posted one of her photos to my wall because it looked like a woman in a hijab shooting a selfie. But the tiny pink digital camera made me suspicious — the photograph doesn’t appear to be a performative, private, or semi-private moment made public. And so I emailed Tanya directly to ask if this photograph was indeed a selfie, and a fascinating conversation ensued.

Originally from Jordan, educated in the U.S. and London, and now based in East Jerusalem, Habjouqa’s series Women of Gaza is an intimate look into the world of a variety of Gazan women who continue to live their lives despite the ongoing political strife that characterizes the region. Tanya and I talked about this body of work, which is now a part of the Boston Museum of Fine Art’s permanent collection.

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