Reimagining Peace

Lisa-Maria Gruber & Friedrich J. Richter, Austria & Germany

Lizzie Doron’s book „Sweet Occupation“ will form the foundation for our project „Reimagining Peace“. In the book Doron interviews five individuals who were involved in the armed struggle of the Israel-Palestine conflict, but have since rejected violence and become advocates for peace. We want to draw from their experiences as well as those of individuals with similar biographies.

To accomplish this, we are privileged to collaborate closely with NGOs such as Combatants for Peace and Breaking the Silence. Combatants for Peace was founded, amongst others, by Sulaiman Khatib and Chen Alon, The NGO brings together former combatants from both sides, fostering dialogue and joint nonviolent activism for peace. Breaking the Silence is an organisation of veteran soldiers who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada and have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the occupied Palestinian territories.

„Reimagining Peace“ adopts a deliberate approach rooted in slow journalism. In collaboration with our protagonists, we aim to explore emotionally charged locations that symbolise turning points in their lives — places marked by loss, assault, transgression, or identity transformation. Through photography, video, and audio, we invite viewers to intimately experience these spaces, transcending the prevailing narrative of a radicalised conflict and revealing possibilities for peaceful solutions and the rejection of violence.

The centerpiece of our project is a photographic series that portrays the peace fighters at the locations of their choosing. Accompanying these portraits are photographs capturing the architecture of separation. The choice to use analog photography stems from the deliberate, slow and intentional process that goes into composing every picture. We will use the shifting light of the twilight hours as a symbol for the transformation from conflict to peace. 

Our vision is the amplification of the voices and narratives of individuals actively involved in the struggle for peace in the Middle East conflict. These individuals are united by their shared pain that has emerged from the ongoing conflict. We seek to foster nuanced discussions while acknowledging the presence of asymmetric power structures.Through their stories of transformation, we hope to inspire others and cultivate greater empathy, ultimately leading to positive change and a more peaceful future.

Discover more: Shortlist 2023