The Harrowed Hands of Palestine
By Sarah Irving
November 2, 2015
“Kan Yama Kan,” meanwhile, offers some similar themes — of land, landscape and place — but in a much pacier, more colorful way. Here, the human figures are real, and very alive, whether they are the lined faces of older men and women or the hurtling figures of boys leaping from the walls of Akka, an ancient Palestinian city in present-day Israel.
The title of this set of photographs — comprising five sequences, each with a powerful tale to tell — is the Arabic equivalent of a literary formula such as “once upon a time.” It implies heritage, common understandings and rich stories to be told and shared.
Steve Sabella – Photography 1997-2014
By Hubertus von Amelunxen
Within Sabella’s oeuvre, Kan Yama Kan stands for the transition from a symbolic form of representation, earth-bound and lamenting a lost unity, to the allegorical abstraction of an art that is essentially turned away from representation. The invitation to voyeurism-Marcel Duchamp’s Etant donnés (1946-66) comes to mind-determines the reification of what is seen. “We are more than someone’s object,” Said wrote. Given their strong symbolization, the five boxes painted by the five Palestinian artists epitomize the fetishization of loss. Stories are unreeled like the allegory that unfurls life from death, to use the words of Walter Benjamin.
Steve Sabella – I am From Jerusalem
Exhibition Catalogue – The Empty Quarter Gallery, Dubai
By Christa Paula
Light, in different spectra, is significant and is utilized to create an imaginary reality, a promise of relief in a world beyond the visible. The yearning for escape is palatable. Importantly, these early works incorporate aspects of fragmentation and re-assembly as well as the digital manipulation of the photographic image, prescient of Sabella’s mature formal vocabulary. The artist’s conceptual bearing, however, was articulated in the course of the projects created between 2004 and 2006: Till the End, Spirit of Place (2004), Kan Yama Kan (2005), and jerusalem in exile – tangible memories (2006-2009). Collectively, they focus on Jerusalem and comprise a thorough investigation of the dialectic between place and perception.