At Home - Amal

Wendy Ewald

From the series This is Where I Live, printed in 2014, inkjet print mounted on aluminum, 5 x 7 in (13.3 x 17.8 cm) image, 8 x 10 in (20.2 x 25.4 cm) paper.

"In this project [This is Where I Live] I asked 14 groups of people from various regions and cultures to work with me to map Israel and the Occupied territories from within.

For over five hundred years the Negev Desert has been home to the Bedouins, a population of formerly nomadic sheepherders from Egypt. About sixty years ago, the Israelis expelled most of the Bedouins from the desert and relocated them. In order to maintain their pastoral life in the desert, some Bedouins decided to remain in "unrecognized" (and thus illegal) villages with no services. Of these, Wadi al-Na'am is the largest.

In the closing days of the British mandate, the government built an elementary school in Wadi al-Na'am. The school's name, Azazme, refers to the tribe that lives there. Eventually, over two thousand students attended the school; it was so overcrowded that parents petitioned the Ministry of Education to build two or three more schools. Israeli law prohibits any elementary school from having more than one thousand students, but it also prohibits the building of permanent structures in unrecognized villages. So the Ministry of Education decided to build a wall down the middle of the Azazme elementary school, creating Azazme A and B, with one thousand students on each side of the wall.

Thirteen sixth-graders at the Azazme B School took part in the project."

— Wendy Ewald