College of Arts and Sciences


  • Documentary Photography Exhibition to Focus on Jerusalem and West Bank

    August 25, 2010 

    The documentary photography exhibit, “Paradoxes of Living on Holy Land: Photographs from Jerusalem and West Bank,” opens at Seattle University’s Vachon & Kinsey Galleries September 20 and runs through December 3. Local photographer Rajiv Kapoor will speak about his work on October 8 at 6pm in Wyckoff Auditorium on campus; a reception and viewing will immediately follow. 

    The exhibit showcases a series of photographs in two galleries, drawing visitors into a land of conflict and history. Kapoor’s images capture everyday life amid the constant reminders of territorial disputes. A poster of a martyr hangs in a barbershop.  A woman pushes a baby stroller past a checkpoint.  

    In Jerusalem, a city dating back to the beginning of writing (4000 BC), Hasidic Jews can be seen everywhere among Muslims and Christians practicing their faith. The old city of Jerusalem (0.35 square mile) is a walled area within the modern city of Jerusalem which is roughly divided into the Muslim Quarter, the Christian Quarter, the Jewish Quarter and the Armenian Quarter. 

    In the West Bank, under Israeli occupation since 1967, the old mixes with the new. Once under Ottoman rule as a province of Syria, the West Bank shares borders with Israel on the west, north and south. Today, checkpoints, guarded soldiers, and barbed wires are part of the fabric of life along with spice bazaars, old alleyways, and much more. 

    While photographing the “costs” of occupation in the West Bank and Jerusalem, Kapoor noted that paradoxes began to feel normal. “I was intrigued by this place where passion could turn into a political hurricane at any time,” he said. 

    Alexander Mouton, Assistant Professor and Gallery Curator, says “Kapoor has gracefully addressed one of the more challenging topics of our times in a way that brings a much needed humanistic vision to all those involved in the territories surrounding Jerusalem.” 

    Rajiv Kapoor:

    Originally from Mumbai, India, Kapoor pursues photography while maintaining a corporate career in marketing. His work is mainly focused on sociopolitical issues and explores a stream of life amidst conflict. His photographs from Jerusalem and West Bank opened at the Ver(a)rt Gallery in Seattle and were used in the 2010 Seattle Sabeel Conference, an Israeli-Palestinian peace conference, to inspire dialog.

    Kai Bird, a Pulitzer-Prize winning historian and author of Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis, 1956-1978, said Kapoor’s “starkly beautiful” images bring into focus his memories of living in a divided Jerusalem. “They depict a city and a people still virtually separated by fear of the ‘other’… Kapoor's photographs simultaneously evoke the power of photojournalism and the intimacy of art.” 


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