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Adam Rouhana

Before Freedom Pt. 2: The Revolution Cannot Be Built On Dreams Alone

Curated by Lobna Sana

1 - 22 June 2024

London Gallery Weekend 31 May - 2 June

Curator and artist-led tour, Friday 31 May 11.00-12.00

Adam Rouhana in conversation with Amah-Rose Abrams

Thursday 20 June 6.30-8pm

£5 + booking fee tickets HERE

TJ Boulting is pleased to present Before Freedom Pt. 2: The Revolution Cannot Be Built On Dreams Alone, Adam Rouhana’s second London solo exhibition, curated by Lobna Sana. This exhibition of predominantly unseen works made between 2022-2024 takes on new narratives from Rouhana’s storied ongoing body of work, offering a deeper cut into his documentation of the lived

experience of Palestinians.

While embracing emancipatory imaginaries, this exhibition explores the duality of opposing realities of life under occupation that are a daily feature of living in Palestine. Building on the success of Before Freedom, Pt. 2 develops new narratives to further question history, memory, space, politics and reality itself. The exhibition is inspired in part by the writings of Pan-African activist and thinker Amilcar Cabral, a leading theorist in matters of cultural resistance: “Culture is the vigorous manifestation on the ideological or idealist plane of the physical and historical reality of the society that is dominated or to be dominated.”– Amilcar Cabral

The Revolution Cannot Be Built On Dreams Alone is a realisation of the historical and material realities of Palestinian society, rejecting domination and instead cultivating the fruit of collective history to usurp the free operation of the process of productive cultural development—where it is possible to dream of tomorrow.

Rouhana’s practice leverages photography to challenge the temporalities of a supremacist regime of visuality by constructing an assemblage of geopolitical, socio-cultural and historical awareness into aesthetic formations. Rouhana supports expanding notions of subjectivity—self-consciously scrutinising dominant transhistorical representations and presenting an alternative.

“What do you think of when you think of Palestine? Hold those images in your head. Now look around at what you see here. Are they the same—which one is true? We can hold two truths at the same time. Such is reality.” – Adam Rouhana

Schoolgirls play, friends bond, wild dogs roam in the night time, girls grow into women and boys become men. Against a backdrop of red poppies and verdant greenery, the occupation forces people to queue for hours to get to and from work— but Palestinian life knuckles towards an inevitably free future.

The Revolution Cannot be Built On Dreams Alone, although dreaming is one of its main conditions. Our dreams are based on what we see and what we know of the world around us. This exhibition offers images seen through Palestinian eyes, inviting the visitor to dream and act differently. The camera in Adam’s hands reveals the bond between the Palestinian and his homeland. By catching the essence of light, space and movement viewers can feel the moments captured continuing beyond the frame. The images shown in Before Freedom Pt. 2 reflect ordinary realities in Palestine, making them exceptional and in some sense dreamy.”– Lobna Sana

The exhibition signifies a historic inflection point in photography that moves beyond rolling news and biased, outmoded documentary photography and photojournalism. The world is in a pivotal moment, where people are starting to see Palestine for what it is. Rouhana’s work is for those who want to know more.

Featured in Aperture, Dazed, the British Journal of Photography and The New York Times, Adam Rouhana’s photography has been gaining attention since it was first written about in Dazed in April 2023. His online following has been building momentum for some time and now. Following his first solo exhibition at No. 9 Cork Street curated by Amah-Rose Abrams and through exhibition, his work is now firmly positioned in an art context. Amah-Rose has also contributed to Pt. 2 through her work on and support of the exhibition.

The works in this exhibition were made between 2022-2024, all works made in 2024 were produced with the support of Dar Yusuf Nasri Jacir for Art and Research.


Adam Rouhana

Adam Rouhana (b. 1991, Boston, MA) is a Palestinian-American artist and photographer based between Jerusalem and London. Rouhana’s photography works to deconstruct Orientalism through his subjective lens within the broader context of Palestine. Through his investigations, he questions his positionality as a Palestinian behind the camera, both as Westerner, having grown up in America, and as Arab. Rouhana received his master’s from the University of Oxford. Through the introduction of new narratives, Rouhana’s work embraces themes of the past to create a contemporary Palestinian visuality characterised by visual representations of Palestinian lives that embody an active ethic of self-determination. He is often inspired by scenes of his grandmother’s fruit orchard and domestic life from his early memories in Palestine.

Lobna Sana

Lobna Sana is a Bedouin architect and artist from southern Palestine. Sana’s practice is driven by answering social questions using architectural design and artistic modalities that span film, sculpture, maps, curation and activism. Sana holds a Bachelor in architecture from the Bezalel Academy for Art and Design in Jerusalem, in which she was granted with the Azrieli Prize in Architecture 2022. As co-founder of the “Sada” art movement, a Jerusalem-based initiative that combines art and architecture as tools to address challenges of life under occupation, she was the curator for the movement’s exhibitions. Recently she collaborated on the V-R film "Remember This Place” directed by Patricia Echeverria and screened at the Venice Film Festival in 2023. Today, Sana is a main figure at the Regional Council for the Unrecognized Bedouin Villages in the Negev (RCUV) where she leads and develops new methods of local mapping and architectural solutions.

PDF of works

Adam Rouhana The Revolution Cannot Be Built on Dreams Alone: Current Exhibitions
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Adam Rouhana The Revolution Cannot Be Built on Dreams Alone: Exhibitions
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