When The Grapes Were Sour


Exhibition Dates: 7th - 15th  June 2024

Exhibition Opening: 6th June 2024, 18:00-20:00




P21 Gallery is pleased to present When The Grapes Were Sour, a solo exhibition by Palestinian artist Rasha Al Jundi.


“We must choose the identity, not let the identity choose us”. 

Hamzeh, 27, from Al Mansi - Haifa and Burqa - Nablus. 


On a late afternoon in October 2022, Palestinian artist Rasha Al Jundi, decided to apply her rooted traditional embroidery to a small 4x6 inch self portrait. She was testing the application process and how it can be done in a way that both preserves the image and creates a new one simultaneously. The art that she learned through maternal figures on both sides of her family has been an integral part of her being. She wears it, displays it around her home and applies it. This time, she wanted to employ it as a self-expression of bring out the constant struggle of being a Palestinian exile and what that state of mind puts forward in terms of loneliness, questions of identity and a feeling of constant loss. 


As a result, the project “When The Grapes Were Sour” was born.  This ongoing web-based multimedia documentary photography project combines digital black and white portrait photography, audio and applied traditional Palestinian embroidery to selected prints. Depending on the story, related archival images, from private or open sources, are also incorporated. 


It has been 76 years since the Palestinian people suffered the traumatic events that led to the Nakba, or catastrophe, which has started in the early months of the year 1948. While the Nakba climaxed on May 15th, and led to the forced expulsion of more than 800,000 Palestinians, it continued throughout that same year. Many argue that it continues, to this day, in the form of gradual ethnic cleansing. Indeed, since October 7th 2023, the massive military assault that was launched by the “Israeli” occupation forces on the besieged Gaza Strip and parts of the occupied West Bank, has displayed clear genocidal intent both in practice and in words broadcasted by  various “Israeli” political figures.  Direct bombing, forced displacement, home demolitions, daily assaults, direct assassinations of Palestinian journalists, medical professionals & blockading of this indigenous population are ongoing. 


According to 2022 figures from the Palestine Land Society, there are more than 14 million Palestinians inside the occupied territories and around the world, nine million of whom are registered refugees. This renders Palestinians the largest refugee population in the world. 


Many Palestinian exiles whether in urban, rural or refugee camp settings still have hope to return to the homeland. With time, this dream and internationally acknowledged right gets more complicated. Yet it never completely disappears from the back of the minds and hearts of some exiles. Others chose to erase their connection to their roots either due to trauma, shame or their own hope to shape a firm identify by adopting a new one. 


Through this project, the lead artist aims to create personal accounts of individuals who identify as Palestinian exiles around the world. She chose to apply cross-stitched embroidery by hand to selected portraits to place herself in each story through this embroidery. 



Artist statement on the project:

Being Palestinian in exile myself, I have always wanted to reach out to other fellow Palestinian exiles and listen to their stories in an attempt to find myself through those stories and cope with the daily news in the occupied homeland. Embroidery has been a vital part of my family since my childhood. I grew up watching my mother, aunts and both grandmothers create dresses with their hands. It has always been part of my own story. 

As Palestinian exiles, we collectively struggle with our identity, fragmentation and the presently hostile political climate against our right to self determination.  Therefore, I also aim to illustrate to a Palestinian and a non-Palestinian audience that no matter how specific twists in history resulted in categorising us according to the identification cards we carry or privileges we my have acquired in new contexts, that we have a shared thread. A common link. 

A hope. A dream. A stubborn love for Palestine. 



Artist Biography

Rasha Al Jundi (1984) is a Palestinian documentary photographer and visual storyteller. She grew up in the UAE, after which she moved to Lebanon to pursue higher education. During her seven year stay in the country, she volunteered with the Lebanese Red Cross and worked with a local civil society organisation coordinating rural development pro- grams. Between 2009 and 2021, she worked with several non-governmental organisations, in the Near East, and Africa. Her work generally follows a social documentary pathway. Her work has been exhibited in Amman, Beirut, London, New York and Tokyo. Rasha is the 2022 Ian Parry grant recipient and a graduate from the International Center for Photography (ICP), New York.




For further exhibition information, press images and interview opportunities, please contact P21 Gallery, email: info@p21.org.uk, Tel. 020 7121 6190








Generously supported by: Culture Resource and Photographers Without Borders (PWB).