Oraib Toukan

Jordan 1977. Lives and works in Berlin.

"Of particular distinction is her photographic project, "Icon Series," an investigation of  ‘place,’ the non-descript and common public spaces of Jordan, relating the collective experience of contemporary Jordanians.  In the series, the place never fully reveals itself.  Rather, it is described incrementally from an anonymous perspective with bits of visual experience that identify a general locality where despite a lack of specifics, a viewer is strangely familiar with the images that feature objects and languages from shared spaces.

Toukan documents spaces inhabited by picture-objects that speak of nationalism, God, and a seasoned longing for Jerusalem tucked in a broader Palestinian nostalgia that are collected and displayed along the dusty walls of ordinary spaces betrayed of their commonness.   The effect of “betraying commonness” is executed primarily via Toukan’s control of light that characterizes the photos in the series.  Primarily through the execution of subtle, mature lighting decisions, Toukan is able to transform the ambient into the mystical with striking results.   The repetition of themes in the different spaces suggests the iconic picture-objects displayed are born from a collective identity, a shared memory understood by the Jordanian people. This kind of shared consciousness is enforced in Toukan’s work while the specificity of ‘place’ is minimized."

- Excerpt from 'Review' by Sama Alshaibi
Oraib Toukan - Counting Memories, exhibition catalog published by Darat al Funun - The Khalid Shoman Foundation, 2007