Tarek Al Ghoussein

Kuwaiti-born Palestinian photographer Tarek Al Ghoussein boldly addresses themes of Palestinian identity, displacement and the psychological affects of being barred from entering Palestine’s borders.

In 2002, Al Ghoussein launched an ongoing self portrait series where he presents an image of a lone individual (himself) wearing a traditional Palestinian headdress, the keffiyah, against various backdrops. Al Ghoussein, born in 1962, has said he strives to reference and challenge frequent media depictions of Palestinians as terrorists, wearing all black with their heads wrapped in keffiyahs. Mass media can reinforce stereotypes, something he tackles by forcing viewers to look beyond their initial reaction and delve into alternative interpretations of the images. Quite fittingly, police suspicious of his motives arrested Al Ghoussein while he was shooting the series.

Al-Ghoussein now lives and works in Sharjah, UAE, and has resided in the United States, Morocco and Japan. His work has featured in group shows in Brussels, Singapore, Dubai, Germany, France and the United States, and is part of permanent collections in London, Copenhagen, Jordan and Sharjah.