Rehab Eldalil

Photographer
 
The Longing Of The Stranger Whose Path Has Been Broken
Location: Cairo
Nationality: Egyptian
Biography: Documentary photographer and visual storyteller based in Egypt. Rehab's work focuses on the broad theme of identity explored through participatory practices. Having lived in the US during 9/11 and experienced rising xenophobia then returning... read on
Public Story
The Longing Of The Stranger Whose Path Has Been Broken
Copyright rehab eldalil 2021
Updated 09/06/21

(2018-ongoing) A personal project in which I reconnect to my roots and explore the process of finding and seeking the meaning of belonging cited through the Bedouin community of St. Catherine in South Sinai, Egypt.
 
The community is part of the creative process. I'm using their commentary of embroidery, poetry, sound and storytelling to link the photographic work with topics of social injustice and the history of the community’s struggles. The final outcome is a complementary collection of photographs, written content, embroidery and multimedia.
 
The story attempts to understand the layers of an identity and the interconnectedness between people and land which defines the notion of belonging. In doing so, I’m raising questions on the meaning of identity and belonging. I  believe it’s a common human emotion to seek a definition of one’s identity, yet its complexity is often ignored, creating linear narratives and othering. With this dialogue I hope to build a bridge between the voices of the Bedouin community and western audiences who have long seen the Bedouins and many other indigenous communities through a romanticized gaze. 

I’m working with the Jebeleya tribe, who’ve been inhabiting Sinai for more than 1400 years. They’ve survived wars, colonialism, drought and pandemics. Yet, they are in perpetual struggle with the authorities. During the Israeli occupation (1967-1982), Bedouins remained on their lands to protect it. Although they helped Egyptian forces regain possession of Sinai during the war, their resistance to the occupation was overlooked. The larger Egyptian public came to view them as traitors. So began a long struggle to secure civil rights and basic needs. Like many indigenous communities around the world, Bedouins of Sinai are commonly misrepresented in the media, portrayed as isolated from, and a threat to, modern society. Throughout it all, they remain the keepers of the land - protecting it from harm as it has provided them with blessings in return.

This project has been my opportunity to process my estranged ancestry and the Sinai land that the community has sacrificed so much for. It’s this interconnectedness which survived in my blood and drew me back to this land to find my roots and way home.
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The project has additionally branched further from the main body of work, producing a field guide specifically for the younger generations in the Bedouin community. Developed through a collaboration with tribe elders and older members in the community, this field guide is a compilation of plants and herbs natively grown in South Sinai with many medicinal and hygiene benefits. The field guide includes photographs of the plants, descriptions of its traditional use handwritten by collaborators and information on when and where the plants can be found and harvested including illustrations. This field guidebook is aimed towards engaging younger members to celebrate and preserve the traditional and modern Bedou’ identity. It is a bridge between generations to reconnect to their land.

For full portfolio and list of assets please reach out info@rehabeldalil.com 
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Also by Rehab Eldalil —

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Sinai Flora Field Guide

By Rehab Eldalil — I’ve been working with the Bedouin Jebeleya tribe in South Sinai, Egypt to produce a flora field..
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Publications

By Rehab Eldalil
VISUAL STORY

Healing Confrontations

By Rehab Eldalil — (2017-2018) The BuSSy project is a performing arts project that documents and gives voice to censored untold..
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Women Of The South

By Rehab Eldalil — (2018) A photo essay accomplished in collaboration with Drosos foundation to document the life of women..
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Roots Guide

By Rehab Eldalil / Array — (2016-2021) An interactive multidisciplinary guidebook of the Netherlands by migrants. Composed of 40+..
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Traces Of What Remains

By Rehab Eldalil — (2020) January 25, 2021 marked 10 years since the start of the Egyptian Revolution. I was in my senior year..
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