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Darwin was a Palestinian



I wonder if the dog and I possess the same right to evolve. Yes, Darwin was a Palestinian when he theorized how we evolve. Day by day, the Palestinian neck grew longer to outreach the wall. They reached out to peek and glance at their loved ones, to smell the soil on the other side, to hear the sea and feel the sand. The more they missed, the more they evolved.
Laugh, laugh, laugh, we start to l
ook funny in your eyes. However, naturally we will be arrogant, and these long necks make us see you very small.


Wafa Hourani - Palestinian Artist - Sculpture - Science Fiction

Miniatures, monuments, and secrets: notes on the work of artist Wafa Hourani - By Lara Khaldi


The monument and the time vertigo


The image on the invitation card for this exhibition was taken from inside one of the sculptures Darwin was Palestinian which is an anthropomorphic form made out of wire and silk thread. While Wafa Hourani’s depiction of Palestinian cities or refugee camps is in miniature, inversely the characters living in those cities are larger than life itself. Larger both in scale and in character. For instance, the characters made out of wire and thread have very tall necks, because according to a fictive Darwinian theory, the Palestinian would have grown a tall neck in order to adapt to living behind the apartheid wall and to be able to look beyond it. The view from inside the sculpture reminds one of Vladimir Tatlin’s unbuilt Anti-Monument to the Third International, or the Eifel Tower or even Babel tower. All dysfunctional towers or ruins who only use is that one could see the city from their tops. The future of the Palestinian is a ruin/monument in Hourani’s work, one which rivals the checkpoint tower and the apartheid wall. In Hourani’s magical fiction, the Palestinian body is aestheticized into a monument, because everything around it is in a monumental state. This body living under occupation is of bare life, mechanical, but also a ruin, similar to any other city, the Palestinian city does not have one dysfunctional monument, but is full of monuments. If Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International is iconic of the failure of technology, and of the artistic Avant-Garde after the revolution in Russia then Hourani’s Darwin was Palestinian is a monument to the future failure of the colonial apparatus.

Darwin Was Palestinian / By Daniela da Prato  - The Golden Gates – Paris 2009


By exploring various media combined with his subversive imagination, Wafa Hourani’s works reflect the relationship between art and reality, personal and collective memories, dreams and utopian futures in a playful, bitter, emotional and subjective manner. The determinations brought about his Palestine conspire into installations on the living conditions of Ramallah and renditions re-imagined on the West Bank.


In Hourani’s Darwin was a Palestinian, he continues to somewhat probe a hypothesized expectation of a Palestinian’s future. Evolving as the land becomes less and less available to its settled people, Darwin’s Theory of Evolution becomes an evident study made about Palestinian people. The wall grows taller, the land becomes lesser, and the Palestinian’s neck grows longer, lurching above the ever-growing wall, only to regretfully yearn for the other side. Political and economic realities constrain his homeland, and the absence of the national is recreated into nostalgic desires brought about their social regression.


 Darwin Was a Palestinian

Jacob to his son Joseph

As much as you miss your rights

You will evolve

And this long neck

Will make you naturally arrogant

To see the enemy very small

Behind the wall, there is a wall

“Wallscape” wherever you try to escape

There is something grey there

Looks like a wall!

It might kill you one day

And they will laugh at you!

If you go high the grey will die

And be buried in the white of your eye

If you can fabricate your past as you want

Not; how it was

Derive tomorrow from a sky

Longing for the land

Between a war and a war

Then you will survive

They will never evolve

They might resolve them selves

From flower to clove

Dissolve from grey to grey

Dry; as if cement meant to be there!

You had no choice

After the butterfly landed on your shoulder

And they have been the older.

They hate you Joseph

If not!

They don’t like you my son

Lie, go high like “Baron on the Tree”

Be free

And if you build a kingdom one day

Be the postman

Rights, it’s not what you will get yet!

If you don’t admit, then fly

Like the seven birds who went to meet the God

Flew in an empty blue

There was a glorious sun

But; the moon was shy

One sky!

One by one started to fall

Till the last one

When she has been alone

Accepted to be God

Then fall

Fall back

A black stone

Made a hole in the mind


With this funny long neck

You won’t need to fly!

Flip, strip on your own wall

Show off!

Demonstrate straight

And never give up!

Who are you seeing up there?


Rights; what you can protect!!

The Hora dance the ring while Horus should protect!

She had the right to scream

After a rape she slept

Then split for two hearts to scream


Dream like a barred owl in the light

She has the right!

Be her

The grey will die and be buried in your white!

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