Federico Busonero

The Land That Remains

Photographs from Palestine

Tuesday, July 17 at 6 pm @ the Library

The Orcas Island Library brings renowned photographer Federico Busonero for a presentation in the Library’s reading room. Commissioned by UNESCO, Federico Busonero undertook three extensive journeys through the West Bank of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, between 2008 and 2009. The intent of his photographic study was “to document culturally significant sites” in a territory rarely seen.

“Photography is about waiting, and cultivating time. Time to develop the necessary attention and perception of the subject, of what exists or existed there beyond the instant of seeing”, says Busonero.

Additionally, Busonero states “In 2008/ 2009 I carried out a photographic assignment in Palestine on behalf of UNESCO. The research provided an in-depth documentation and insight of endangered sites and landscapes of irreplaceable cultural and/or natural significance. An exhibition of this research was edited by Anne Sanciaud Azanza, former curator of photography at the Bibliothèque national de France, and shown at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, 2010. Subsequently, the study was published as a book by German editor Hatje Cantz, in 2016. The book contains a 79 photograph sequence and texts in English by Anne Sanciaud Azanza, Giovanni Fontana Antonelli, Federico Busonero.

The Palestine I visited remained elusive, transfixed in the stillness of its own time. I felt almost as an intruder as I approached the contradictory present topography and demanding past contained within: places of great weight and history, places of so many recorded and unrecorded memories, places resonant with human suffering and dignity.

The Land That Remains renders in images the beauty and the pain of the landscapes of Palestine. It is a meditation on a vanishing epic civilization, a prayer, and a form of affection for its past and its present. The land of Palestine is an indefinable state of the immanence of all things: of all that we have already seen and known in other places and in other times, and have now forgotten. It awakens a yearning for that primordial condition of things – of space and time – which is inherent in each of us, yet no longer manifest in the Western World."

From DM Contemporary, NYC, March 2017, “…is delighted to present The Land That Remains, a solo exhibition of photographic works by Italian artist Federico Busonero shot while on assignment in the West Bank to document Palestinian cultural heritage for the UNESCO between 2008 and 2009. Busonero’s connection with the land and the people there resulted in a parallel body of work, which was published independently in a book by the same name. The seven large and fifteen smaller archival pigment prints making up this show capture the sense of a place that is suspended in time: weighed down by its past and paralyzed by the uncertainty of its future with the reality of the present approaching the surreal. During three extensive photographic journeys throughout the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank, Busonero, with his traditional film camera, a Hasselblad, travelled alone along Route 60, the main North-South highway which connects most of the cities of the West Bank. The photographer rarely encountered people on this mostly deserted highway.Here comes to mind US Route 66 and an image of the open road that has inspired generations of American writers, like Jack Kerouac – the vast expanse of highway and the freedom it beckons. However, this highway symbolizes anything but freedom! Due to severe travel restrictions imposed on Palestinians, they are unable to have access to the highway connecting their own cities unless they have Israeli Army permits. Busonero was allowed access only because he was using a pass issued to him by the UN to facilitate his assignment. Busonero’s critical eye, his demanding method and patience (such as visiting areas time and time again to develop an understanding of his subject, and waiting until the light was right), and his compassion, provide an opportunity to see a land in a way rarely seen before. Shedding light on villages and cities with extraordinary heritage, pastoral rolling hills, ancient olive groves, fertile valleys, sacred desert cemeteries, and vanishing archeological sites, the artist, who likes to describe himself as an ‘archeologist of the present’, uncovers not only what exists but what may have existed beyond the instant caught by his camera. This exhibition offers the opportunity to look at a land and view a reality often ignored in the fog of political reporting. “

The Land That Remains has been shown previously in France, Italy, and the United States. Join Federico Busonero in the Reading Room of the Library, Tuesday July 17 at 6pm. The Land That Remains is available in the collection at the Library. Light refreshments will be served.