Promise Me a Land



In his book Promise Me a Land, Clément Chapillon (b. 1982) approaches the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the study of the disputed land itself. Images of pastel-coloured landscapes and the people that claim them as their own, in combination with floating, unattributed quotes spread throughout the book give it a multivocal feeling. Yet, the voices here mesh together to produce a unified claim: all sides feel entitled to the land, as if it is something that could be possessed; instead, it is the land that has come to possess the people.

As one voice here notes: “The promised land? No, please. I prefer to call it the compromised land.”

The barren, age-old landscape feels timeless and immutable here, making the current conflict seem like something temporary. People ravage the land with walls, settlements, and landmines, yet it remains, seemingly agnostic towards who inhabits it: it is us humans who grow attached to a land, not vice versa.