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Verena Prenner  Contained  Westbank


Westbank, Palestine I   2014 - 2016

Contained is a series of interviews and staged documentary photographs of taxi drivers in Palestine affected by the "security wall".  

In 2002, the Israeli government started building a so-called security wall between Israel and the Palestinian territories with the aim to protect the Israeli population from Palestinian terror attacks.

Due to that security fence, the daily work of the Palestinian taxi drivers has been radically restricted. Since the construction of the wall, they are no longer permitted to pass the checkpoint and take passengers to their desired destination on the Israeli side. This restriction has not only impacted them economically but also psychologically and emotionally. The Palestinian inhabitants need a special permission to be allowed to move outside the occupied territories.

"We feel like animals in the zoo", a statement made by one of the taxi drivers during the interviews compelled and inspired the theme of this series.

The costumes that appear to be like animals are made out of waste and used plastic bags to bring attention to this area, which suffers due to neglect and lack of waste disposal facilities. The majority of waste is either thrown into landfills or is burnt in urban areas, resulting in health and environmental problems.

Verena Prenner  Contained  Westbank

“I have never seen a train or an airplane in my life.

Just on the TV.

And I have never seen a lion or giraffe -

there is no zoo,

just a big one and we are the animals in there.“

Verena Prenner  Contained  Westbank

Tourists come here to have great holidays

and when they arrive on our side of the wall,

you can see the fear in their faces.
They probably ask themselves,

“Where are we”? “What´s this?”

Verena Prenner  Contained  Westbank

I cannot talk about this and when I´m thinking of the situation here,
it makes me completely nervous. I want to fight with somebody.

At this moment, I want to fight. If anybody would come
and wants to fight with me, I´m going to make a big problem.

Verena Prenner  Contained  Westbank

Inshalla. I hope, we can live in peace.
We don`t want to kill each other,
we don`t want to destroy Israel,
we do not hate the Jews
because they are Jews,
we hate the occupation.

Verena Prenner  Contained  Westbank

Now, I see all the taxi drivers every day from morning until the afternoon. Face to face.

We spend the whole day together, we speak, drink coffee

and in the afternoon we check our cars and go back home again.

Verena Prenner  Contained  Westbank

I want to cry inside but I show my daughters
I am happy. And most of the time when I am at home,
I don´t talk much.

And if my family tries to talk to me and ask me
a question, I only give a small answer.

You know how much tired I am?

Verena Prenner  Contained  Westbank

When you want to talk with anybody here about politics,

most of the people don´t  care about it.

And they don´t want to think about it.
They care about their families and that´s it, to pay for the water,
to pay for the electricity and the rent for a home.

Verena Prenner  Contained  Westbank

Look, here is my father. You see how he is?

He is very tired. And I´m mad.
When I look at my muscles
and my strong body, I´m asking myself:

“All this is for nothing?”

Verena Prenner  Contained  Westbank
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