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Mohammed Abu Sakha used to be a normal, cheerful kid, despite the violence he witnessed in the West Bank in 2004. In 2008, he joined the first Palestinian circus school, an organization that trains Palestinian children from various West Bank cities throughout the year. When summer comes, they hit the road, taking the kids for a Mobile Circus Tour.
“I feel circus brings me the chance to send my message from Palestine to the world”, he tells. “I don’t speak English very much so I can’t communicate with everybody outside of Palestine. Circus brought me that chance. I can use it as a expression tool to tell our stories.”
I followed Mohammed in August 2009 during a tour of the circus.
In the night of August 24th 2009, the Israeli Occupation army surrounded the house of Mohammed Abu Sakha in the old city of Jenin. His parents were told that they just wanted to talk to him outside, but instead they took him and put him into jail. At that point, Mohammed had just turned 18. He was accused of throwing stones at one of the Israeli attacks in 2004 during the second Intifada – at which point he was 13 years old.
In 2005, I was 25 years old and I shared the same passion about photo documentary with three friends. We founded the photographers’ collective “Out of Focus”, based in Brussels. Since then, I usually work for local associations and NGO’s. I am also doing a personal project concerning circus around our world like the Palestinian Circus School. It’s more about daily life than shows, and more particularly about the use of art in conflict situations such as occupied territories.
For the two last years, I also coordinate with the collective specific exhibitions. We regularly spread our images out of their usual context by exhibiting in the streets and open spaces. An interesting way to generate reflection…
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Many thanks… david alan harvey