Iris Hassid Segal
This ongoing project, documents the day to day of three, young, Arab- Palastinian citizens of Israel young women ( Majdoleen, Saja and Samar), who have left the the protection of family and conservative communities where they grew for the dense and fairly modern, Jewish city of Tel Aviv, to study and live in my neighborhood, Ramat Aviv, where the University of Tel Aviv is(built on the remains of a Palestinian village, Sheikh Munis, that was evacuated in 1948.) The women make up each another’s support system. They are part of a big rise of young women Arab studying in Universities in Israel. Being an Arab in Tel Aviv is a complicated existence; on the one hand there are opportunities for them to work and study. But at the same time merely speaking Arabic in public, rather than Hebrew, could bring stares of disapproval. Their world is one of in-betweens.This world exists between traditions and the search for independence, for a personal voice and expression, motivated by the urge to be who you are, and by doubts and worries that this identity – a young Arab woman in a Jewish city . Despite their marginalization, they are not deterred. In fact, they are unfailingly determined to take advantage of all that is available to them as they move forward in life. They are on a journey to figure out who they are and who, if left to their own devices, they can become. Shooting in the tradition of fine art, documentarians, I do not try to hide my relationship to the girls and the way we play off of one another. Our relationship is a journey of building trust and collaboration. They are my guides into their lives and, as such, they co-direct many of the shoots. After all, as an Israeli Jew I have a lot to learn from them about the Arab Israeli existence. I shoot with a medium format, film camera and am working on a book.