What Lies Behind the White Roses

Mixed Media Installation

I went back in this project to my diaries and memories of the time when I lived in Nablus during my Bachelor studies at An-Najah University. This place rendered me a stranger. I have always tried to avoid thinking about some of these suppressed memories. Now it is the time to revisit the past and my memory of this place from the perspective of the person I have become. This work represents my personal experience in Nablus; the room where I used to live, and which became my kingdom; protecting me from the outside world. I tried persistently to integrate, but I failed. I chose to live in a desolated building; a neighborhood area away from the crowd. My relationships with other strangers, like me, became the only resort for survival; the only escape from isolation. I tried everything: relationships with women, friendships, books and music. I wanted to be normal, and to integrate in the city, and with my neighborhood and people, but I would say it again: I failed and failed and failed. It is human nature which provokes in me in this moment the desire to go back to these old memories; to face the past and question my position as a stranger in the place. I have just realized the beauty of the memories my body and soul left behind in this city.  I recall what I used to see from my window; the white flowers growing in the garden and along the stairway; the benches where I had my love dates; the mirror in my bathroom; and the rusty squeaking building’s door. This door that separated me, yet connected me with the outside world. Its continuous squeaking became a symbol of estrangement. The door was witness to the routine, silence, and questions that I often posed about the interiority and exteriority of this world. My reflection in the mirror was the mistress I lived with every day. I came back after all those years to see her, to prove to her that I’ve changed, and that I'm not feeling estranged anymore. My reflection has changed too, although the mirror stayed the same. I told her that I now live as a stranger in the city of strangers where I do not feel estranged. I flip through the pages of my old diaries looking for love letters and notes that I took of some of my intimate telephone conversations. My memory betrays me. I can read and understand  some of the notes clearly, but other words and lines fade with no meaning. I can't recall anymore why I had written these texts or the occasion that enticed me to do so. My memory betrays me.