Jumana Emil Abboud’s project takes its title from a 1920’s study by the pioneering ethnographer Dr. Tawfiq Canaan, documenting sites that were thought to be haunted by spirits, good and bad. In Palestinian traditions these ‘haunted’ or ‘blessed’ sites are activated through storytelling, folktales, and an expansive fairy-tale practice.
Abboud’s project is an attempt to locate 125 sites identified by Canaan’s study. With the remapping of the landscape – new towns, infrastructure, settlements, etc. – many of the sites have been buried, dried out, or obliterated. In the villages only the older generation recall such and such a haunted site, their knowledge often accompanied by fables once rumoured upon the village. Through the journey to locate the long-lost sites and the stories which belong to them, Abboud has produced a new body of works in film (made in collaboration with cinematographer Isa Freij), drawing and painting. Weaving folk stories with the present political reality, the project moves between fact and fiction, past and present.
Jumana Emil Abboud: Haunted Springs and Water Demons in Palestine is produced in collaboration with BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead and is supported by A.M. Qattan Foundation; British Council, Palestine; Rana Sadik and Samer Younis. Special thanks to Delfina Foundation and Raven Row.
Abboud’s exhibition at BALTIC runs from 6 May to 2 October 2016. Earlier drawings in the exhibition were commissioned by the Southbank Centre / Hayward Project space.
Photographer: Tim Bowditch