Portraits of Palestine


SEE Rich Wiles CV

Work on this project began in 2003 during my first visit to Palestine. The project has now developed into a long-term project potentially leading towards a book of the work.

Palestine is often only referred to in terms of ‘conflict’, ‘war’, and ‘politics’, but it is much more than that. Palestine is a country, and more than that Palestine is a people the majority of whom are no longer living in their original homes. ‘Portraits of Palestine’ is as its name suggests a series of portraits, shot in black and white, of a people, of Palestinians living in the area of Palestine now known as the ‘West Bank’.

These are environmental portraits of people and their daily lives. These include images of people at home, at work, studying, and traveling. These are rights practiced by people worldwide The work consciously avoids the dramatic media-styled images of the worlds’ press which has painted a very polarized and distorted vision of Palestine and its people. Instead it endeavors to show the rigors of daily life in Palestine, and the humanity and resilience with which these challenges are met, through portraiture.

The images attempt to show not only the physicality of life in Palestine, but also to raise questions regarding the psychological effects of living in such an environment, particularly through the eyes of children. How must a child feel to see bullets riddle their bedroom walls, to be trapped in by checkpoints and fences, or to live behind caged doors to keep extremist settlers out No child should ever have to grow up in an environment like that... In some images the environmental aspect will suggest at circumstance and events,. in others the clues may be more subtle, maybe even just a glint in child's eye, or body language. But it is always there to be found, somewhere… These images are not meant to preach, neither do they beg, they simply show a people in a country attempting to live their lives.

Since 2003 much of my life has become focused on my work in Palestine. To a people and a country I have come to love and respect deeply. People who have taken me in as a friend, even like a brother and my only hope is that through my work I have communicated at least something of what I have shared, learnt and felt in Palestine.

Rich Wiles




D.O.B: 2/10/1974

2003 HND Photography – (Hull College School of Art & Design, East Yorkshire)

2007 “Portraits of Palestine” – (The Gallery, Kingswood College of Arts, Hull,UK)
2007 “Portraits of Palestine” – (Edinburgh Uni, Edinburgh,Scotland)
2006 “Portraits of Palestine” – (London Irish Centre, London, UK)
2006 “Portraits of Palestine” – (Yafa Center, Balata Refugee Camp, Palestine)
2006 “Portraits of Palestine” – (Al-Najah Uni, Nablus, Palestine)
2006 “Portraits of Palestine” – (BirZeit Uni, Ramallah, Palestine)
2006 “Portraits of Palestine” – (Bethlehem Peace Centre, Bethlehem, Palestine) .
2006 “Portraits of Palestine” -  (Sakakini Cultural Centre , Ramallah , Palestine . )
2006 “Portraits of Palestine” – (Palestine Polytechnic Uni, Al Khalil, Palestine)
2006 “European Street Photography” – (Take 5 Gallery, Hull , Yorkshire,U.K . )
2004 “Palestine” - (EICH Gallery , Hull , Yorks , U .K . )


2007 “Children in Conflict” – (Copenhagen, Denmark) 2006 “When the World Said No To War” – (Edinburgh, Scotland)
2005 “When The World Said No To War”- (Sydney, Australia)
2003 “Images of Hull” - (Hull , Yorkshire, U .K) .
2002  “ICI /Imagedata Student Photographer of the Year” –( London , U .K) .


2003   “British Journal of Photography Endframe” –   Published Artist
2002  “Jack Jackson Award for Photojournalism” Short -listed Artist
2002   “ICI /ImageData Student Photographer of the Year” Short -listed Artist

Work has been widely published including British Journal of Photography, Times Educational Supplement, Yorkshire Post, Amateur Photographer, Palestine News. Since 2003 facilitating collaborative community Photography projects with children and young people in the U .K . and in Aida Refugee Camp in Palestine (in association with Creative Partnerships U.K., Arts Council England, British Consulate Jerusalem, Belgian Technical Cooperation, and Lajee Center-Palestine). Selected international exhibitions of these projects are listed below.
From 2005-ongoing (6 months each year) I have been Artist in Residence at Lajee Center, Aida Refugee Camp, Palestine. This work includes many roles such as helping to run the NGO, running projects, proposal writing and fundraising, building international relations, advocacy work etc all done through creativity and culture.
From 2004-ongoing I have been working with Creative Partnerships/Arts Council England facilitating social Arts Projects with schools students in Hull, East Yorkshire, UK.


2007 “Our Dreams and Nightmares” – (De Levante Foundation, Amsterdam, Holland)
2007 “Our Dreams and Nightmares” – (Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, Palestine)
2007 “Dreams of Home” – (Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, Palestine)
2006 “Our World” – (David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown Uni, Rhode Islnd, U.S.)
2006 “Our World” – (St. Stephens Cultural Center, Rome, Italy.)
2006 “A Child’s Rights in Palestine” – (AidaRefugeeCamp, Bethlehem,Palestine)
2006 “A Window to Our World” – (Milan , Italy)                                 
2006 “A Window to Our World” – (Abbadia, Tuscany, Italy)
2005 “A Window to Our World” – (Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, Palestine)


Nov-Dec 2006 – “Portraits of Palestine” – (The Gallery, Kingswood College of Arts, Hull, UK)
Dec-Feb 2008 – “Our Dreams and Nightmares” – (De Levante Foundation, Amsterdam, Holland)
Jan-Mar 2008 – “Portraits of Palestine” – (Dean Clough Galleries, West Yorkshire, UK)
Mar 2008 - “Dreams of Home” – (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK)
April 2008 - Our Dreams and Nightmares/Dreams of Home” – (Resistance Bookshop Gallery, Paris, France)
May 2008 - “Portraits of Palestine & Dreams of Home” – (Melbourne, Australia, venue yet to be confirmed)
May 2008 - “Portraits of Palestine & Dreams of Home” – (Sydney, Australia, venue y.t.b.c.)
May 2008 - “Portraits of Palestine & Dreams of Home” – (Adelaide, Australia, venue y.t.b.c)
June 2008 - “Dreams of Home/ Our Dreams and Nightmares” – (London UK, venue y.t.b.c.)


Since 2006 I have been working on a text based project ‘Behind the Wall’. This is a book project that will be published in 2008 based on daily life, experiences, and memories of Palestinians, with particular reference to life inside the refugee camps of the West Bank. Examples of this work have been translated into Italian, French, German, Spanish and Arabic, and have been widely published including:

Information Clearing House (US), Redress (US), Palestine Journal (US), Palestine Chronicle (US), PRESS TV (Iran), Maan News (Palestine), Jerusalem Times (Palestine), The Babel Project (New Zealand), Das Palestina Portal (Germany), Peoples Geography, Electronic Intifada (Palestine), Al Quds (Palestine).


I am working to bring a group of children and young people from Palestine over to the UK in June 2008. This tour will bring 15 young artists and dancers from Lajee Center (www.lajee.org), Aida Refugee Camp, to work with British children and show their art work including photography exhibitions, Dabka (Palestinian Folk Dance) dancing, and digital stories/moving image work.


Work has been widely featured in national and international media including BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Humberside, BBC Humber Online, Times Educational Supplement, Yorkshire Post, Press TV (Iran), Maan News (Palestine), Al Aram (Pal), Al Quds (Pal), Haq Al Awda (Pal), Zaman Daily (Turkey), Corrietta di Sienna (Italy), etc.





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