If you’ve been following our travel diary series, you’ll know that from time to time, whenever our artist friends travel past our borders, we insist on them sharing images of their amazing travels with us. Our latest contribution comes from friend of SKATTIE, and UCT Michaelis art school graduate, Sarah Hugo-Hamman, who currently works as an artist and assistant stylist. Hers was an incredible, contemplative, and at times testy journey, including being held and interrogated for 10 hours. Her stunning images were all shot on film, and they give us a peek into a world so many of are unlikely to ever visit. But before I end up telling her entire story myself, imma stop and let Sarah tell it to you in her own words and images:
“i did not set out on a spiritual journey, nor can I say that I specifically had one. but if the word ‘spirituality’ conjures up ideas surrounding contemplation, reflection, and meditation, then that is what took place.
Jordan was never part of the plan, or destination, but only seen as a liminal space. the plan was to get across the Israeli border at Alambre Bridge and get to Palestine with the rest of the Via Dolorosa group of artists that I was traveling with, but due to unforeseen circumstances such as, for one, my name being a problem. Sarah Yasmin is Islamic and Hamman is German thus I was held at the border for ten hours, interrogated, and charged with committing contempt and unwillingness to cooperate, then denied access for five years when they found out i was associated with Palestine.
control is an interesting thing. you can control yourself, your actions, your thoughts, your movement. beyond that, control is only an imagined concept. the hardest part was to acknowledge the control that others could have over me, whether by implementing control through strategies of intimidation, or creating a space of uncertainty. the fear is what in the end controls you, and that fear can be ingrained into you in such a short space of time.
but then again letting that control and that fear control you is a choice. you have the choice to be controlled by the fear, even if you can’t see that it is a choice. whatever happened at that border, whatever happened before or after that border had the capacity to destroy everything, but it can’t destroy the way i think, the way i feel, and above all the way i see.
Jordan allowed for space and time to think, time spent looking and seeing and listening. the call to prayer represented a time to sit in silence, and be part of the silence, to float, to actually float in a sea, and know that that no matter what, it won’t let you drown from everything that at one point held you down. a time to be grounded, to allow your mind, spirit, and soul to be free from limitations. to be less concerned with what people think, and less concerned with the negative. the negative that people bring into your life.”
Words by Sarah Hugo-Hamman
Intro by Malibongwe Tyilo