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What Makes You Happy? Usti Asks Palestinians around the Country

BarakaBits sat down Usti, a new art/photography initiative that seeks to highlight the beauty of the Palestinian people by asking them personal questions and capturing the moment.

1) How did the project begin? The project began after travelling around Palestine and meeting so many people from different backgrounds, having simple conversations with them only to realize the beauty of Palestine lies predominantly in it’s people. Their generosity, humbleness, care and faith is a beacon of light that shines through. In a single conversation with an olive oil soap maker who’s been at his profession for over 20 years, the question came up “What makes you happy?” The answer was insightful enough to start a project like this to have people be reminded of how special they are. He simply said “No one has ever asked me that question, we are so busy in surviving and making ends meet, I’ve never thought of what really makes me happy.” So we’ve taken it upon ourselves to go around meeting people around Palestine asking what makes them happy, capturing mini stories and taking a memorable photo of them in that happy moment of thought. Around 400 images will then be curated as an art mural in the heart of Ramallah as a gift to the people of Palestine, to keep that smile burning which is ignited by incurable hope.

2) What is the aim of the project? The project aims to humanize the people of Palestine. Under the circumstances of the occupation the people of Palestine have barely ever been celebrated for being who they are. The project aims to, through short stories, expose the people living in Palestine and their thoughts. They are an encyclopedia of knowledge and wisdom, and you’ll only ever get to know that if you meet them, and hear them, and Usti is the perfect place to do that.

3) Where does the project get the photos? Who takes them? This is a communal project so anyone who owns a camera is encouraged to go out and take pictures. However, the main dedicated photographer to this project is Ahmad Daghlas, a very talented, young photographer who’s dedicated to capturing the best moments around Palestine anywhere from old markets to refugee camps.

4) What does the project hope to share with the world and accomplish? The project aims to show the world that Palestinians are humans too, and they also deserve the basic rights and survival needs that anyone else in the world deserves. If you don’t believe us, you can meet them through Usti, which is an opportunity to bring the people of Palestine closer to other people around the world by exposing their culture and their inherent values that are so miraculously contagious.

For more information: Usti on Facebook 

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