By Judith A. Ross for Talking Writing
Said Nuseibeh’s photographs are much more than pretty pictures, though many of them depict a level of manmade beauty that is rare in any age. His photos, like this one, "Domes at Dusk," of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, provide a gateway into a culture and history that many of us in the United States will never experience or witness firsthand.
“In addition to investigating my cultural heritage and selfishly seeking personal creative inspiration, my cultural or political mission is to break the narrow and negative confines of contemporary stereotypes and give viewers access to a wider galaxy of Islamic and Arab experience.
Audiences in the west rarely get the opportunity to see Islamic culture free from violence, anger, poverty, despair all of which seem to be the contemporary fruit of European colonization. To the extent that these images move us towards an opening of hearts and minds, I will be honored.” Said Nuseibeh
As he notes above, Said uses his art to build bridges. Like a lot of writers, musicians, and visual artists, in answering his own questions, he is creating understanding for the rest of us as well. As he writes on his website,
“Perhaps this explains how a boy whose mother grew up across a canyon from Edward Weston and whose father was dispossessed of his native Jerusalem, grew up himself between San Francisco and Appalachia, and ultimately exercised photography to build new connectivities and bridge disparate worlds.”
The warm golden glow of the magnificent dome captured in this image not only helps me see the beauty of this far-off land, it makes me want to know more about the people who built it. And it confirms what many in my country don't understand: The people living in that part of the world are like us. They love their children, they love beauty, and they want to live their lives in peace.