Celebrating Leith and North Edinburgh Return of the Soul: The Nakbah Project
Return of the Soul
Return of the Soul II
Return of the Soul III
Return of the Soul IV

Elsewhere on Leith & North:
Edinburgh Poetry Garden
Dialogues of Wind & Bamboo
104 pairs of shoes exhibition
Leith & North: Please email any news items to: news@leithandnorth.org.uk Return of The Soul: The Nakbah Project (Edinburgh July 31st to August 18th 2008) continued Return of the Soul: The Nakbah Project (continued) >>>

Sound engineer Kate stands on a chair to look across the middle rows of figures, which can be seen glowing through the shimmering nylon wiresReturn of the Soul - the Nakbah Project, is a moving artwork comprised of thousands of small wax figures creating an illussion of exodus. In total the project has produced over 6,000 figures, 3,000 have just been exhibited in Al Hoash Gallery in East Jerusalem and were created by Palestinians of all ages but mostly youths from camps in the West bank, Al - Amari and Qalandia (Ramallah) and the Doha Centre, Bethlehem as well as young professional artists from Jerusalem.

The 3046 wax and wire figures on exhibit at Patriothall Gallery in Edinburgh were produced primarily by young artists and crafts people across three camps in Lebanon, Beddawi, Burj al-Barajneh and El Buss under the auspices of Al-Jana (The Arab Resource Centre for Popular Arts), and Shams Theatre Association and the Red Crescent.

View of the hanging figures from the rear, looking towards the scaffolding platform Jane and Ally kneeling over a giant sheet of paper planning the architecture of the installation with blue coffee musgs in the foreground Left <<<: Artist Jane Frere and project coordinator Alison Macdonald
Right >>>:
The installation nears completion..

As the event programme describes, Jane Frere gave a six-day workshop to a team of professional artists and art students in Ramallah,  who then passed on the concept to young people in Qalandia and Al Amari camps under the auspices of The Red Crescent. This was followed by a further six-day workshop at the Doha Centre in Bethlehem, and at Al Hoash Gallery in Jerusalem, co - producers of Return of the Soul, The Nakbah Project.

Jane lived and worked with Palestinians, in villages, cities and camps for nearly a year. This helped her conceive the workshops which covered "anatomy, movement, and Palestinian period costume, but most important of all exploring the physiognomy of flight and exile" as the described in the programme.

See a short film of the art work in Jerusalem, and hear Jane's comments >>>

Two women sit working together with Scotmid bags full of figures behing them Two men kneeling, one tying a figure to a wire, the other measuring from a spool Left <<<:Fenella and Jenny measuring wires for figures.
Right >>>:
Mohammed (from Yemen) and Daniel tying figures to wires.

The creative workshops also involved training in testimony collecting and oral history courtesy of Al-Jana's expertise. The final aspect of the exhibition is made up of the testimonies, stories and pictures of many of the individuals whose personal lives and experiences are the subjects of many of the figures. They were interviewed by the young refugees who made the figures, and can be viewed in the restful room beyond the main exhibit. Jane describes the figures as "having been given life and soul in Lebanon", in the refugee camps of El Buss, Beddawi and Burj el Barajneh.

People drinking wine at the launch and contempalting Return of the Soul from the front Two women looking up from underneath the figures to the rear of Return of the Soul Left <<<: Frank looks up as the installation starts to take shape
Right >>>:
Wassim in his Lebanese style El-Daar Cafe where workers ate during the project's Edinburgh phase.
Patriothall Gallery web site >>>
Return of the Soul web site >>>
Edinburgh Art Festval web site >>>
A nightmare of shattered lives: The Scotsman, July 24th >>>
Wikipedia article on the Auschwitz concentration camp >>>

Return of the Soul: The Nakbah Project (continued) >>>

Larger wax figures suspended at the foreground of Return of the Soul