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The Era of Essence, Imagination and Hard Work | Interview with Palestinian artist Steve Sabella | A.M Qattan Foundation


“No Man’s Land” is a six-metre-wide photographic triptych, which was also featured in the Palestinian Museum’s show Intimate Terrains: Representations of a Disappearing Landscape. Can you tell us about the creation of that particular work?
 Given the unprecedented and existential urgency we are all living in, my answers to your questions have changed. As we can see, the pandemic is a slow-moving tsunami, and what is at stake is not the life on planet Earth, but human civilisation. Earth is creating its own reset button for life to continue, but possibly not for us. And what might remain in the future will be fragments, traces of signatures and art which will tell our story—hopefully not on cave walls again. 
If we don't wake up, we are all going to end up marching to No Man’s Land, the work I hung up at The Palestinian Museum. We are in an era of something new—change, opportunity, creativity, imagination—and we must bid farewell to the age of war and hatred. And post-Corona apocalypse, any leader in the world, if there are leaders left, who does not endorse pure awareness to protect the planet first, followed by equal welfare to all its citizens, will eventually have no chance.
In my No Man’s Land, you see a kaleidoscope of the residue of life. Rotting leaves, feathers, pollen and flying dust create a new landscape. The location is unclear, whether we are above water or in the depth of the ocean, in space, underground or above the surface of fossilised burnt land. And then there are the white forms in No Man’s Land, almost human-like figures that seem lost, drowning. In many ways, this is the physical and mental state in which many Palestinians live—even those who remained on the land. And now, this is a reality that might hit everyone in the blink of an eye. 
“No Man’s Land” inspires us to imagine the beauty of our world and see beyond its surface, especially now when everything is in flux. 


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