Tag Archives: souk

The night before Eid

On the afternoon before the beginning of Eid, Hanan and Amira came over and Hanan worked on the canvas.

Hanan and Suzanne working before Eid dinner
Hanan and Suzanne working before Eid dinner

After completing a couple of hours of work we headed off to Zarca where Hanan and her family live. I was invited to join her family in a traditional Palestinian dinner: Upside Down Chicken.

The first thing Hanan did when we arrived at her house was to show me her beloved garden. It is a beautiful, luscious ‘harbor’ in the middle of a crowded overpopulated desert city:

Hanan in her garden
Hanan in her garden 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Upon entering the front door of the two-story living quarters, I noticed a mural on the inside wall and asked about it. Hanan created it shortly after she married and moved to Zarca.

Wall mural inside Hanan's front door
Wall mural inside Hanan’s front door

We then entered her sitting room and had coffee. Amira’s friend Shaimaa came over and they invited me to walk with them to the souk. During Eid the souk is filled with numerous stalls lining the streets selling everything imaginable.

While we were walking through the souk I talked about filmmaker Jan Parkinson coming to Amman on October 23. I decided that during our walk I would switch to inanimate objects as subjects in my photographs. I began looking closely at the mannequins in the shops and lining the streets and noticed ‘adornments” on the mannequins that I would normally not notice. Such as, one had a green spot painted on the side of her nose:

green spot
green spot

Another had a cracked neck wrapped in plastic, another had a hole in the middle of her face and yet another had a plastic choke band and one third of her head cracked straight through.

The children’s mannequins were uniquely bizarre. Amira thought they were scary. Shaimaa agreed. I think I agree too.

childrens mannequins
children’s mannequins

Because I was getting strange looks from passersby while photographing these mannequins, I switched to children’s bouncy rides and balloons.

As we continued through the souk we arrived at an underground passage, with shops in it, that led to the Zarca refugee camp souk.
[Click on any image for enlarged slide show]:

After a couple of hours of ‘souking” we returned to Amira’s home and had an incredibly delicious Upside Down Chicken that Hanan had been preparing all afternoon. Thank you, Hanan! Happy Eid to everyone!

 

Advertisements

Mumtaaz!

The souk has every kind of fresh and tasty food imaginable, as well as coffee, tea, sweets and condiments.

Mohammad sells stencil tessellation kits on the sidewalk. I bought a couple of kits from him the other day, he makes creating them look very easy. I’m still trying to figure out how to make my stencils look even remotely like his. I gave one of the kits to Khalid (the Syrian boy visiting Yosef the barber). I’m quite sure Khalid will be able to teach me how to use my stencil tessellations in a few days. Khalid and I communicate very well, despite neither of us understanding a word the other one says. Well-meaning translators occasionally interrupt our chain of communication and, sadly when that happens, our great communication withers away until the translator disappears.

Mohammed, street tesselations
Mohammad, street tesselations

I now know four words in Arabic: shu-kran (thank you), mar-ha-ban (hello), jay-ed (good), and mum-taaz (excellent). I emailed my fake-adopted Palestinian brother, from twenty years ago, who lives in a refugee camp in Palestine and told him about my newly-acquired language skills. He emailed back, “My clever sister!”

Today Hanan, the artist, came over again with her daughter Amira, this time to work on the Seven Women’s House Keys canvas.

Hanan with canvas
Hanan with canvas

Amira is twenty-two years old. She knows four languages fluently: English, Japanese, Korean and Arabic. Yes indeed, I am a very clever sister with my four newly-acquired Arabic words!

Amira and Hanan
Amira and Hanan
Amira and Hanan working
Amira and Hanan working

Hanan brought her personal collection of embroidered yokes from Palestinian dresses and very generously donated them for appliquéd sections on the canvas.

Hanan's emboidery and painting
Hanan’s emboidery and painting

Hanan’s family house is in Jerusalem. When Hanan was twenty-two her mother taught her how to embroider a dress with the Jerusalem design. It is pictured on Hanan in the following photograph:

Hanan with historic book on Palestine
Hanan with historic book on Palestine

The city of Amman didn’t have street signs until a couple of years ago. When taking a taxi the directions normally do not include the street name or a property number, rather they include the name of the district and a specific mosque, church or large building near the destination. I just say “Weibdah, Paris Circle.” And, after being dropped off in front of Stop and Shop, I walk home.

My landlord, Imad Petro, is very excited about my project. Without any prodding, he asked if he could search through the shops in Downtown Amman to find seven house keys. His family’s house is in Bethlehem.  Imad, and his brother Samil, brought over seven house keys that Hanan quickly rejected, saying they were too large.

Suzanne and Imad with keys that are too large
Suzanne and Imad with keys that are too large

He then returned the keys and brought seven more back, as well as some Palestinian-embroidered coasters that can be cut up and appliquéd on the canvas.

New keys!
New keys!
Samil and Imad
Samil and Imad