Desert Bloom

Desert Bloom, the second project in The Erasure Trilogy

Tracing the consequences of Ben-Gurion’s dream of settling the Negev and making the “desert bloom,” the aerial photographs that comprise Fazal Sheikh’s Desert Bloom project reveal the myriad forces and actions that have blossomed to displace and erase the Bedouins who have lived in the desert for generations. We can view the transformation wrought on the landscape by erosion, mining projects, military training camps, the forced evacuation and demolition of “unrecognized” Bedouin villages, the afforestation efforts, the clearing and appropriation of the desert, and the expansion of settlements. What these remarkable photographs show is that the alteration and devastation of the Negev desert often has gone hand-in-hand with violence against the Bedouins.

Viewed through the lens of Sheikh’s camera the desert comes to us as a kind of archive of what has happened on its shifting surfaces, of what is hidden and sealed within its dunes, of all the efforts to use it to erase the traces of this long, often contradictory and violent history.

Image Gallery
Latitude: 31° 12' 45" N / Longitude: 35° 11' 60" E, October 4, 2011
Remnants of evacuated Bedouin homestead and military earthworks in a live-fire zone, outskirts of Qabbūʽa ‘unrecognized’ village
Latitude: 31° 12' 45" N / Longitude: 35° 11' 60" E, October 4, 2011
Remnants of evacuated Bedouin homestead and military earthworks in a live-fire zone, outskirts of Qabbūʽa ‘unrecognized’ village
Latitude: 31° 25' 0" N / Longitude: 34° 27' 51" E, October 10, 2011
Decommissioned British-era munitions storage bases near the Gaza border
Latitude: 31° 0' 60" N / Longitude: 34° 43' 4" E, October 9, 2011
Abu Asa family homestead in the vicinity of the recognized Bedouin town of Bīr Haddāj
Latitude: 31° 0' 60" N / Longitude: 34° 43' 4" E, October 9, 2011
Abu Asa family homestead in the vicinity of the recognized Bedouin town of Bīr Haddāj
Latitude: 31° 21' 7" N / Longitude: 34° 46' 27" E, October 9, 2011
Preparations for planting the Jewish National Fund (JNF) Ambassador Forest at the site of the former homes of the Abu Jāber, Abu Mdīghem, and Abu Freiḥ families, of al-ʽAraqīb
Latitude: 31° 18' 2" N / Longitude: 34° 36' 52" E, October 9, 2011
Ofakim (lit., “horizons”) city expansion grid, showing major roadways and plot delineation.
Latitude: 31° 18' 6" N / Longitude: 35° 5' 17" E, October 9, 2011
Outskirts of the Arab village of al-Dreijāt, established in the nineteenth century, but not recognized by the State of Israel until 2004
Latitude: 31° 8' 7" N / Longitude: 35° 12' 25" E, November 22, 2011
Evaporation ponds at the Arad Phosphate Mine
Latitude: 30° 53' 60" N / Longitude: 34° 45' 53" E, October 9, 2011
Demolished remains of a Bedouin home and fenced area within the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development experimental site
Latitude: 31° 13' 24" N / Longitude: 34° 24' 0" E, October 10, 2011
Piles of discarded plastic refuse burning after the harvest in the outskirts of the Mivtaḥim (lit., “safe havens”) moshav
Latitude: 31° 7' 40" N / Longitude: 34° 18' 49" E, November 13, 2011
Underground communications and power lines to the border fence and intersecting seismic test line, border zone between the Negev and Egyptian Sinai
Latitude: 30° 58' 57" N / Longitude: 34° 57' 52" E, November 14, 2011
Bedouin homestead of the Habsi family, of the ʽAzāzme tribe, in the unrecognized village of Rakhma
Latitude: 31° 3' 8" N / Longitude: 34° 45' 17" E, October 9, 2011
Pita (a circular form simulating an enemy installation) for military maneuvers in a closed military live-fire training zone
Latitude: 31° 16' 17" N / Longitude: 34° 59' 48" E, November 22, 2011
Remains of the foundations of the homestead of Ḥasan a-Sarāyʽa, on the outskirts of the unrecognized village of Bāt al-Sarāyʽa
Latitude: 31° 18' 50" N / Longitude: 34° 40' 58" E, October 4, 2011
Earthworks organized by the Jewish National Fund in preparation for planting the Ambassador Forest along the Al-‘Araqīb stream
Latitude: 30° 45' 14" N / Longitude: 35° 10' 31" E, November 22, 2011
Impact craters and wreckage of two Israeli Air Force (IAF) Skyhawk planes used as targets along a simulated airstrip in the live-fire zone of the Naḥal Masor basin
Latitude: 31° 3' 13" N / Longitude: 34° 28' 10" E, November 13, 2011
Tracks of recent passage along an improvised route through the Ḥalutza Sands toward the Egyptian border

Publication

Desert Bloom and Desert Bloom Notes (the companion reader), the second volume in The Erasure Trilogy

Steidl
With text by Fazal Sheikh
Design: Fazal Sheikh with Duncan Whyte/Steidl Design
160 pages, 75 color images
8.1 x 10.6 in. / 20.6 x 27 cm
Clothbound hardcover with dust jacket
Monochrome printed paperbound hardcover
ISBN 978-3-86930-805-0

Desert Bloom Notes (the companion reader), explores the historical and contemporary clues along the shifting surface of the desert, and what lies hidden, sealed within Sheikh’s aerial landscapes of the Negev.

32 pages with 85 color images
 8.1 x 10.6 in. / 20.6 x 27 cm
Embossed paperbound volume

To "The Erasure Triology" publication