Afterdark: Consequences of War on Women in the Gaza Strip
By Simona Ghizzoni
ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT
I reached the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the first time in 2010, on assignment with a friend journalist, to document the condition of Palestinian women in the Gaza Strip. At that time, we had the access to the Gaza Strip denied by the Israeli Government. To me it was a big surprise, so I decided to spend a couple of months in Jerusalem and the West Bank in order to see and understand more of the social and political situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories. That was the beginning of my long-term project about the consequences of war on women’s lives, Afterdark.
A few months later I got the permission to enter the Gaza Strip, where I stayed as a whole around three months, documenting the aftermath of Cast Lead Operation (ended in 2009) and the life of women in the extremely complex contest of the Strip.
Women in Gaza suffer of a double pressure: the isolation from the outside world imposed by Israeli blockade, with all the economical, physical and psychological consequences, and, on the other hand, the worsening of women’s human rights conditions under Hamas government, heading towards an effective gender separation.
Through the stories of the women I met, I am trying to understand what actually happens when a military operation is declared a success, how is the return to normality of life, and which normality can be actually restored, in order to avoid to forget the real human toll of any war..
Simona Ghizzoni (b.1977) is a photographer, artist and activist for women rights.
Most of her work stems from personal issues, which she processes and interprets through photography and video.
Mainly known for her autobiographical work on eating disorders, titled Odd Days, and her self-portraits series Aftermath/Rayuela addressing the ambivalent relationship between man and nature, Ghizzoni blurs the lines between documentary and personal research. While her images are oftensocially- inspired, she tends to employ a personal and participative narrative, at times even fantastical, that arises from the intimate relationship she creates with the other.
She is currently working on Isola, a new self-portrait series.
Her work has received several prizes, such as World Press Photo, Poyi, the Aftermath project, Burn Magazine Emerging Photographer Grant, BBC Arabic Film and Documentary Festival, Margaret Mead Film Festival, Sony World Photography Award, among others.
It has been widely presented in personal and collective exhibitions in various locations including the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, Paris Photo, PhotoEspana, Auditorium di Roma, Athens Photo Festival.
Ghizzoni is a TEDX speaker and regularly gives lectures in various Italian and European schools and universities. She is co-founder of MAPS Images. In Italy she is represented by MLB Gallery.