Jumana Emil Abboud (born Shefa-'Amr, Galilee, 1971) works with drawing, installation, video and performance, exploring personal and collective memory, loss, longing and belonging. Inspired by the cultural landscape of her home, Abboud draws on the traditions of Palestinian folklore and myth-making by collecting stories and fairy tales. Investigating these story telling practices and oral histories, the artist provides new interpretations for the tales she has discovered.
This exhibition brought together a body of recent work, including the series of drawings The Ballad of the Lady Who Lives Behind Trees 2005-14 and the film I Feel Nothing 2013, alongside a new video installation. Abboud's delicate drawings depict monsters and magical beings with the landscapes and sites they inhabit including grottos, wells and trees. Presented as a constellation, we are encouraged to weave these elements together and create our own narratives. I Feel Nothing is a video-poem inspired by a Palestinian folktale The Handless Maiden and Titian’s painting Noli me Tangere c. 1514. Filmed at the Museum of Classical Archaeology, Cambridge, the Freud Museum, London and locations throughout Palestine, the work explores notions of touch and territories of the body.
Abboud’s three-channel video installation Hide Your Water from the Sun 2016, traces a 1920 study by physician and researcher Dr. Tawfiq Canaan into Palestinian customs and folklore. Canaan analyses ‘haunted locations’ that are primarily attributed to water sources and inhabited by various demons. Abboud, with cinematographer Issa Freij, has visited these locations, documenting the sites where the original wells and springs have long since disappeared. The exhibition was accompanied by an audio guide with Abboud reading passages from Canaan’s study.
The artist wishes to acknowledge the support of the British Council, Delfina Foundation, Rana Sadik and Samer Younis
A second chapter of the video installation Hide Your Water from the Sun was presented in the exhibition Jumana Emil Abboud: Haunted Springs and Water Demons in Palestine at Kunstraum, London, 14 May – 23 July 2016.