Cactus Truck in Palestine with Dirar Kalash, photo series by Sara Anke Morris

Posted on 20 September 2018 in News

Children at the Jenin refugee camp attending the Freedom Theater performance.

Last June multi-instrumentalist Dirar Kalash invited Cactus Truck to join him for a tour of his native Palestine. The performances took place in cultural centers and clubs as well as at The Freedom Theater which lies inside the Jenin refugee camp.

For this tour they were joined by photographer Sara Anke Morris, photographer in residence for Doek Festival 2015. This is a series of photos that she took during the tour.

“Spending time in a region that’s been so wrought with conflict and despair for so long was often heartbreaking. However the warmth and generosity of the people was so great that you could sometimes forget the posters of “freedom fighters” who had been killed which lined the streets of Nablus. We only heard gun shots on one occasion, in Jenin, but it was explained that they were fired for celebratory reasons. Of course, our brief encounter gave us only the tiniest glimpse of their reality, still the people we encountered treated us so kindly and acted so joyous, I can’t help but feel inspired to see them living their lives in such a way.
I also had to question, is our music helpful in such a place? Of course having Dirar to guide us and communicate with the audience was invaluable. Still, I’m aware that the energy we project can be seen as angry or combative. I feel like our music is as filled with love as it is rage, but I know not everyone experiences it that way. On one occasion, after the concert an audience member approached us and said he thought he was going to start screaming, but then he felt he didn’t need to as we were doing the screaming for him. I have no idea what any of these people really feel day to day or experience deep inside, but I hope we can help them scream together. For what it’s worth…”

John Dikeman

This series documents the band’s time in Palestine, the warmth of the people, the day to day life, amazing food and breathtaking imagery. You also see the contrast between the very modern Palestinian community in Haifa to the much more conservative Nablus and Jenin. And the occasional audience member clasping their ears…