Photobastei is what some might call a hidden gem; tucked away amidst industrial buildings along the Sihlquai (in fact, inside one itself), many photographers exhibit their photos at the gallery.
On Saturday 7th Nov, members of the Amnesty International club went with Mr. Doolan to see the UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Work Agency) exhibition, The Long Journey of Palestinian Refugees. The exhibition consists of a collection of photographs of Palestinian refugees from the UNRWA archives.
The National Committee of UNRWA of Switzerland is a newly established national committee supporting and promoting the work of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
Mr. Doolan attended the opening night of the exhibition, along with “a number of people of influence”. He also received an invitation from Ms Carolina de Borbon Parmafor for his Amnesty group to attend a tour led by herself and Hala Al-Azar. He explained, “She got in touch with the school community relations office…[they] got in touch with me and asked if I would be interested in contacting her. Which I did”
The photos were quite beautiful. They portrayed so many different emotions and events throughout the history of the refugees. People’s expressions, vast landscapes and pictures taken at key moments allowed for us to get a genuine (though, inevitably, somewhat detached) feel of what some aspects of these people’s lives may have been like.
Doolan discussed the importance of the exhibition, “it is an interesting document of a huge issue in the 20th century. It has continued to plague the 21st century, but not a lot of attention is given to it. Some people seem to be sort of fed up with the Palestinian issue and think it will never go away.” He continued by addressing some western views on Palestinians as “to a certain extent, sympathetic, but also somewhat suspicious. And that’s unfortunate. This exhibition shows generation after generation of innocent people who have to live in camps.”
For those interested in photography, pop by at any time for a short – or long – walk around the room. Take a look at the other exhibitions while you’re there. For those more interested in the historical aspect, there are tours on Wednesdays at 5pm and Sundays at 3pm.
The Long Journey of Palestinian Refugees exhibition is open at Photobastei until 6 December.
Maddie Schulz ’17