Short Stories Behind Bars, inventory number 208219, is the last acquisition of the Prisoners’ Book Section of the Nablus Municipality Library (West Bank – Palestine). Short Stories Behind Bars is a collaborative work between artist Beatrice Catanzaro, Khalil Ashour and Abdallah Abu Ghudeeb, and the library staff members.
In 2009 I started a project in the Prisoners’ Book Section of the Municipality Library. The Prisoners’ Book Section hosts approximately 8000 books read by Palestinian political prisoners between 1972 and 1995 and 870 hand-written notebooks. These were part of the political detainees’ libraries of two Israeli prisons in the West Bank, one in Nablus and the other in Janet. Both jails were closed down in the aftermaths of the Oslo Agreement, and books and notebooks were collected by the Palestinian Authorities and donated to the Municipality Library in 1995.
Short Stories Behind Bars is the transcription of a dialogue between Khalil Ashour and Abdallah Abu Ghudeeb, ex-political prisoners (who both spent 12 years in prison) who helped me understand the relationship of need and salvation that detainees establish with books. The design of the cover and the cataloguing of the notebook were curated by the staff of the Library and the book is now part of the Prisoners’ Book Section of the Nablus Municipality Library.
(Italy, 1975) Lives and works in Nablus and Jerusalem, Palestine
Beatrice Catanzaro performs actions and interventions of public art with a particular interest in the socio-political dynamics that characterize the evolution of contemporary society. Beatrice interweaves stories, perceptions, meanings and places, bringing together distant and dissonant realities, with an emphasis on the contradictions and paradoxes of the different urban contexts and on the way people relate to their own environment.