One of the icons of Palestinian cinema is photographer and cinematographer Hani Jawharieh, named a ‘cinema martyr’ after losing his life filming combat in Ain Toura, Lebanon, in 1976, tragically capturing his own death from the frontlines.
Jawharieh was one of the founders of the Palestine Film Unit, a collective of image-makers that operated out of Amman, striving to document the massive injustice of the Israeli occupation as well as, at the same time, to go against the grain of the more common image of vicrtimised Palestinians, instead showing them in the heart of the battle, resisting and fighting back.
Their photos, specifically Jawharieh’s, constituted most of the propaganda released in opposition to the Israeli occupation, becoming the official narrative of the Palestinian revolution.
This poster, distributed by the Palestinian National Liberation Movement in 1970, feature's one of Jawharieh's iconic photographs. Photo credit: The Palestine Poster Project Archives.
During the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, the Israeli military destroyed the Palestine Film Unit’s archive, stealing and looting most of its contents, including Jawharieh’s works.
His wife, Hind, kept a collection of his films, however, in the safety of their home, as well as his personal archive of photographs – never before seen by the public.
With the help of curator Azza El Hassan, who founded The Void Project, a multimedia project gathering different forms of archives in an effort to fill in the ‘void’ left with the theft and looting of Palestinian archives, Hind allowed her husband’s collection to see the light in P21 gallery’s exhibition, which opened on Thursday November 7 and will run until November 30.
A still of Jawharieh from Mustafa Abu Ali's documentary chronicling his life, Palestine in the Eye.
Artwork in main image by Khaled Fanni.