SOAS University of London

Wed Abduljawad, Once upon a Time, 2008

For this project, Wed Abduljawad used the most archaic form of photographic equipment, the pin-hole camera, which has no lens but simply allows light through a tiny ‘pin-hole’ onto the photographic plate or paper. The resulting Images, with their vintage quality and dynamic perspectives, describe the nature and decline of Balad, the historic district of the port city of Jeddah. By fusing these images with recordings of the personal recollections of the inhabitants of this once lively, now neglected area, Wed alerts us to the loss not only of the tangible heritage of architecture, but also the intangible heritage of oral history. Both elements have been essential to the social structure of life in Jeddah, a crossroads of cultural influences, where personal stories and ideas have traditionally been exchanged. But in the relentless desire for the latest goods and products, who now is going to listen to, appreciate, or preserve Saudi Arabia’s past?

Wed Abduljawad was born in 1982, in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where she now lives and works.