This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.



Exhibition Catalogue | The Empty Quarter Gallery | Dubai

Christa Paula | Euphoria and Beyond

In 2007 Sabella left Jerusalem for further studies abroad. Before his departure, however, he prepared Exit, a disturbing photographic sequence of aged hands, gnarled and discoloured by time to which he refers as his ‘exilic landscapes.’ While for the first time, this artwork specifically makes use of the human body, it also intimates a yearning for re-connection, a release from mental exile. Perhaps it is ironic, or simply human, that he was to achieve this only once he entered the Diaspora, that is, after he physically left home.

Learn more

The Electronic Intifada

Sarah Irving | The Harrowed Hands of Palestine

Some of the most viscerally disturbing pictures in the book are to be found in the 2006 sequence titled “Exit.” This is made up of photographs of the backs of many different hands and wrists. All belong to elderly people; the skin is almost translucent, many seem bruised or withered and some are gnarled with arthritis. The title of the work is ambiguous; is the “exit” the extremity of the body, the ends of the fingers? Or the apparently imminent exit from life? But the images are also fascinating; each hand, on examination, implying so many tales of work, touch, love, injury, beauty and pain.


Contemporary Practices Journal

Yasmin El Rashidi | The Journey of Artistic Interrogation and Introspection

The result, Exit (2006), his series of images of hands, speaks for itself of the pain of a landscape of both geography and life afflicted in similar ways to Jerusalem itself, with the ravages of battles that extend beyond the symbolic battlefield of war. Exit was in many ways his attempt to give a visual form to the cumulative experiences of his life, and the result, which makes one cringe, is haunting. These hands were the landscape of his exile. But it was, however, the lowest ebb that was his turn of tide, for from the choice of Exit, perhaps from life, Sabella chose to rebuild his own utopia in the exile of his mind.


Hatje Cantz & Akademie der Künste

Hubertus Von Amelunxen | Steve Sabella – Photography

With the Exit cycle Sabella had metaphorically left his native place, his place of origin—the “unspeakable home,” Samuel Beckett writes in the libretto poem for Morton Feldman’s 1977 opera, Neither. In Exit, the tissue of the hand and the marks of life left by time seem like superimpositions, layers. The hands have reached for life; as bodies they have become places of history, places of memory, there before our eyes in the image, severed from everything. The mark on the skin resembles the faded tattoo evoked by Tarafa Ibn al-‘Abd that has left behind a memory of love. Bodies are overwritten with their history and, like a palimpsest, preserve the traces that are gradually deposited and reappear, depending on the question asked of them and the situation…

The three cycles created between 2004 and 2014 [Exit, Till the End and 38 Days of Re-collection] have an archaeological and anthropological dimension. Just as the hands in Exit resemble an inventory and a museum presentation of human fragments, the two other cycles also resemble careful removals of living circumstances, residues, at particular historically verifiable times.

Learn more

A Short Story


The Collection

Layers | Solo Exhibition

Contemporary Art Platform | Kuwait

Download the Catalogue

Layers Solo Exhibition

Contemporary Art Platform | Kuwait


Layers Solo Exhibition | CAP Kuwait

View the independence body of work

Use coupon code WELCOME10 for 10% off your first order.


No more products available for purchase