At the center of Jafra Abu Zoulouf’s works are the remains of old houses in the artist’s neighborhood of Wadi Salib in Haifa. Two videos document her collecting, cleaning, and rearranging debris of houses owned by Palestinian families prior to 1948, as if to prepare them for display. In addition to the artist herself, Talqit features a second figure, Abu Zoulouf’s aunt. The two women, although placed in contrasting surroundings, are engaged in traditional feminine tasks—picking, sorting, cleaning. Yet while Amalia harvests Zaatar and Akoub, two ingredients of the Palestinian cuisine that have been declared endangered plants, Abu Zoulouf is collecting items that have already been compromised and destroyed.
The artist’s pseudo-archeological act reexamines the history of her place of residence and questions her position as a Palestinian woman within this space. The act of conservation imposes tactile qualities upon the past and emphasizes the aftermath of destruction and erasure. Employing tasks that are traditionally assigned to women, Abu Zoulouf reorients the narrative to consider a female experience of loss and uncertainty.