Dear Laila

Part of the Micro Performance Series

"Dear Laila, you are five now and have started to ask me where I grew up, and why we can’t go there. This is me trying to give you an answer."

The seeds of this award-winning immersive experience were planted when artist Basel Zaraa’s five-year-old daughter, Laila, began to ask him about his childhood home, Al Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus. Unable to take her there, Zaraa decided he would bring the place to her. 

Dear Laila shares the Palestinian experience of displacement and resistance through the story of one family, exposing how war and exile infiltrate the everyday and the domestic. In this intimate, interactive installation for one, we explore a model of the home Zaraa grew up in. Open drawers. Leaf through photo albums. Look at the pictures on the wall. Be silent and reflect on the stories of this family, hidden in plain sight.

Dear Laila speaks to joy, family and the beauty of community.

Dear Laila is presented as a part of Boca del Lupo’s Micro Performance Series.

Basel Zaraa is a UK-based Palestinian artist whose work uses the senses to bring audiences closer to experiences of exile and the search for identity. His current project, Dear Laila, is an interactive installation that recreates his destroyed family home in Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus. His previous work includes ‘As Far As My Fingertips Take Me’, a collaboration with Tania El Khoury, which was awarded outstanding production at the Bessie Awards in 2019. His work has been shown at over 40 venues and festivals across five continents.

Basel Zaraa

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