SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

London Launch Of Internationally Exhibited Artist From Palestine Steve Sabella’s Book 'The Parachute Paradox'

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Steve Sabella

Date: 21 November 2016Time: 6:00 PM

Finishes: 21 November 2016Time: 8:00 PM

Venue: Paul Webley Wing (Senate House) Room: SOAS Alumni Lecture Theatre (SALT)

Type of Event: Book Launch

Steve Sabella will launch the English-language, limited edition of his memoir, with a reading, discussion with Dr Siba Aldabbagh and Professor Wen-Chin Ouyang, Q&A, and signing. A reception in the Brunei Foyer will follow from 8:00 - 9:00 pm.

The occupation of Palestine attaches each Palestinian to an Israeli, as if in a tandem jump. The Israeli is always in control, placing the Palestinian under threat, in a never-ending hostage situation. Born in Jerusalem’s Old City, Steve Sabella found himself with two options: either surrender to this impossible reality, or unbuckle his harness and take a leap of faith.

Exploring love and loss, it traces one man’s arduous search for liberation from within, through a confrontation with his colonized imagination.

“For many years my life was held hostage by Israeli occupation, but in my dreams I was free. Once I learned how to change my own consciousness, my dreams became my reality. I was born under Israeli occupation but found a way to live free.”

Sabella’s memoir travels from the Old City to London, Dubai, and Berlin, interweaving reflections on art and life, and his pursuit of global citizenship. Al-Araby Al-Jadeed has already hailed The Parachute Paradox for handling, "an issue unprecedented in Palestinian literature.”


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Book launch of 'The Parachute Paradox' by Steve Sabella


Steve Sabella (b. 1975) returns to London after his most recent solo exhibition there, Fragments at Berloni Gallery (2014). Sabella’s work is exhibited and held in collections around the world. He holds a BA in visual studies from the State University of New York, an MA in photographic studies at the University of Westminster and an MA in art business from the Sotheby’s Institute of Art. In 2008 he received the Ellen Auerbach Award from the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, which included the publishing of his monograph by Hatje Cantz, and spans his two decade career. Sabella has been based in Berlin since 2010. The first limited edition of The Parachute Paradox, Sabella’s memoir, was released in English by German art publisher Kerber Verlag in September 2016.

Siba Aldabbagh is a Senior Teaching Fellow at SOAS where she teaches MA Modern Palestinian Literature and BA Nation and Nationalism in Middle Eastern Fiction. She is also the course convenor of MA Critical Perspectives on Palestine Studies, and will teach classes on visual art histories and museology of Palestine next term. Siba completed her PhD at SOAS earlier this year, looking at the role of memory in resistance strategies of contemporary visual arts and literatures of Iraq and Palestine, including the photography of Steve Sabella. She has written for Contemporary Practices: Visual Arts From the Middle East.

Wen-chin Ouyang was born in Taiwan and raised in Libya. She completed her BA in Arabic at Tripoli University and PhD Middle Eastern Studies at Columbia University in New York City. She taught Arabic language, literature and culture at Columbia University, University of Chicago and University of Virginia before she moved to London. She is interested in critical theory and thought as well as poetics and prosaics. She has written extensively on classical and modern Arabic narrative and literary criticism. She is the author of Literary Criticism in Medieval Arabic-Islamic Culture: The Making of a Tradition (1997), Poetics of Love in the Arabic Novel (2012) and Politics of Nostalgia in the Arabic Novel (2013). She has also published widely on The Thousand and One Nights, often in comparison with classical and modern Arabic narrative traditions, European and Hollywood cinema, magic realism, and Chinese storytelling. She is Editor-in-Chief of Middle Eastern Literatures and a member of the editorial board of Bulletin of SOAS. She founded and co-edits Edinburgh Studies in Classical Arabic Literature. She chaired the editorial board of Middle East in London Magazine (2007-2008) and contributes regularly to Banipal: Magazine of Modern Arab Literature. A native speaker of Arabic and Chinese, she has been working towards Arabic-Chinese comparative literary and cultural studies, including Silk Road Studies.


6:00 - 8:00 pm - Book Launch (SOAS Alumni Lecture Theatre, Senate House)

8:00 - 9:00 pm - Reception in the Brunei Foyer (Brunei Foyer, Brunei Gallery Building)

Other international launches of The Parachute Paradox have taken place at CAP Kuwait, ICI Berlin in collaboration with ifa-Galerie Berlin and the Taswir Institute, and at Alserkal Avenue, Dubai. More details on The Parachute Paradox website.

Book Description

Title: The Parachute Paradox
Limited edition of 1250
With specially designed embossed linen double hard cover, open bound spine, and unique edition
Publisher: Kerber Verlag
Publish Date: September 2016
Language: English
Pages: 304
ISBN 978-3-7356-0305-0
Price: 35 euros

Order from Kerber Verlag

Steve Sabella will be in London and available for in-person interviews from 20 - 21 November 2016.

For further information, to request press photos or a press copy of the book* please contact:

Steve Sabella (website)
+49 176 61646390

*A limited number of books are available to press on a first-come first-served basis

Sponsor: Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS), the Department of the languages and Cultures of Near and Middle East (NME), and the Centre for Palestine Studies (CPS)