Photo: Rich Wiles
Handing on the Key explores how the link to homeland is passed from one generation to the next through acts of memory. The changing identity of the Palestinian community through generations reveals the different and often emotional connections that Australians of Palestinian heritage have to Palestine.
Many Palestinians left their homeland carrying keys in their pockets. Once, they unlocked the doors of homes in Palestine where generations of families had lived. Through years of upheaval and displacement, locks were changed and houses destroyed, but the keys remained. They became a symbol of the hope that Palestinians would one day return to the land of their people.
Today, keys represent memories of grief and happiness, and the determination to be recognised. They also symbolise the right of future generations to open their own doors.
Young Palestinians in Australia are negotiating their own identity whilst sharing the grievances of their forebears. Living in a tolerant and multicultural society gives Palestinians the freedom to express their heritage, and the generations that follow to choose how their heritage will be preserved.
“Just as our people carried their keys from Palestine into other lands, we carry the complexity of our past and our own hopes for peace with justice. This is our muftah, our key.“