Silvia Boarini, Bedouin Land, from PRIVATE 51 – Global Report 2, pp. 50-53
With Bedouin Land I aim to compile a visual journey exploring the daily life of the Bedouin minority living in unrecognized villages in the Negev, Israel.
Made to bloom under the leadership of Ben Gurion, the Negev has always been Israel’s very own far west. Heralded as the place where man triumphed over nature, it is both strangely wild and manufactured.
This harsh landscape though, is also home to some 175 thousands Bedouins. Dispossessed and marginalized, their development has been inversely proportional to the fantastic growth of Jewish communities in the area. Today, there are about 45 Bedouin villages that are ‘unrecognized’ by the government and don’t exist on any maps. They usually consist of cheaply built shacks with no access to electricity or running water and are under constant threat of demolition by Israel’s authorities.
This photographic journey began in 2009 in El Arakeeb, an unrecognized village in danger of being demolished to make way for a forest.
The images document the powerful tie that Bedouins feel to their land, the repercussions that their unresolved status has on their living conditions, their wish to set the pace for their own modernization and the pride they take in preserving their identity and customs.
In the long term, this body of work will report on the impact that government-sponsored development and afforestation have on this Arab-Israeli group and it will advocate the right of a minority to own its past as well as its future.