GUSTO35 ARTIST SPOTLIGHT
WRITTEN BY: ALEC WELSH
If you're familiar with the Gaza Strip, you'll know that it's controversial to say the least. This is where Rasha was born, a Palestinian in an occupied territory. "So that was pretty interesting" she says.
Not long after learning how to walk she moved to Houston, Texas.
"I think we come from a generation where we’re correcting a lot of things that were generationally handed down it feels like we’re breaking cycles ... that’s what it felt like looking back at how I grew up. And I think a lot of people can relate"
She would always go back and forth from the U.S. to home in Palestine. "I didn't even realize this at the time but apparently I always had a camera". She was surrounded by chaos constantly, cars exploding, people running for safety, tragedy all around her. In the face of this?
"My uncles would say, 'She was just there with her camera, taking pictures of explosions"
The West Bank (or Gaza Strip) doesn't have an airport and since they're in a constant state of war, borders get completely shut down. "The last time I was there I kind of got stuck". During this time she found herself always approaching photo-journalists, not realizing she was already one herself.
"I gravitated towards them. I would always be asking them how or why.”
And Rasha's departure to the states was never permanent - after 15 years, she returned home on a sponsorship paid for by an artist she had collaborated with prior. "I'm went down to the largest refugee camp in the world, I shot so much film there, so that was super special".
When asked what other moments she most enjoyed capturing on film: "Sri Lanka, when I went we were in the orphanages and in the villages and I was shooting a bunch of film, that was one of the most beautiful places I've ever been."
The day after our interview, not to any surprise, Rasha flew off to Brazil to work with a collective label. "They're just going to be kind of guiding me, we're gonna shoot everything, we're gonna go to the dangerous favelas - I mean I'm kind of nervous." But at this point it's clear, Rasha is fearless. She'll continue to shoot more upcoming artists, more festivals, and more of her travels - I think we all have a lot to look forward to when it comes to looking through her eyes.