Born Nazareth, Palestine (1990), works and lives in London, UK
Grave Goods in the Belus 2023
video, 14.49 mins.
Courtesy the artist
The production of this work was supported by the Victoria & Albert Museum Jameel Fellowship
Grave Goods in the Belus is a short experimental documentary that explores the history of glass in Palestine. By following the remaining traces of this history, the film finds itself searching for the Palestinian women who excavated the archaeological sites from which glass vessels were looted by British and American archaeologists. These vessels, often containing perfumes for cleansing rituals, hold a rich history of the land from which they were displaced. Now displayed behind glass vitrines in global institutions, these pieces, including figurines of female goddesses like Astarte and busts of maternal figures resembling our Palestinian grandmothers, continue to speak to us today, despite the land’s fragmentation and our displacement.
In this film, I interview my grandmother about her hometown, Ramleh, which means ‘a grain of sand’. She was displaced from there during the first Nakba in 1948. As she recalls learning to read time on the clocktower, the history of the nearby river, now polluted by the effluent from an Israeli weapons factory, speaks to her about the role of its sand in producing glass. The film serves as a conversation between my grandmother and our land.
Dima Srouji’s work is included in Gregarious architectures.