The lighter side of growing up in Palestine

One of my favorite things about working with Triple Exposure since September of 2009 has been getting to watch the kids grow up. Our photography and mural art classes are aimed at kids around 11 years old and up; it is usually that age group that is most open to discussing their identities, beginning to learn a craft, and expressing their creativity and emotions through their art.

This means that I’ve had the privilege of witnessing the universal experience of turning into a teenager: Palestinian edition. As Project Coordinator, I teach a photography class each session and get to know these groups of kids closely, but I’m also responsible for tracking the participation and progress of the kids in the three other photography and mural art classes. So there’s never a shortage of formerly shy and unassuming girls and boys who will one day come to class or walk into my office with a new saunter in their step, a new and stylish hairdo, jeans now tucked low or worn tight, newly matching handbags and shoes… the list goes ever on. My barely-contained giggles never cease.

Let me provide a few examples.

Meet Mohammed Tibi:

and Mumin Salhi:

The above photos are from the photography class I taught in the fall of 2009.

Here are Mohammed (bottom right, in the green shirt)

and Mumin (on the left below) a year later at the “Suwarna” Children’s Photography Exhibition in Nablus. Notice the hair and “I’m a man” stances?

Cool as ice! But always sweet, and always supremely lovable.

Mohammed at the "Suwarna" Children's Photography Exhibition

– Doris, Project Coordinator

“Triple Exposure” is an initiative of Tomorrow’s Youth Organization to promote art education for youth, community access to public art, and a better worldwide understanding of Palestine.


Nablus through the eyes of her children

Photo by Majd from Khallet al-Amood

The young photographers and artists who attended TYO’s “Triple Exposure” classes this fall are proud to present to you their depictions of what it means to be a Palestinian child living in Nablus. As you take some time to reflect at the end of the year, pause and take a look at the lives of these children, framed through the images they have chosen to present to you. Attend a birthday party, kick around a football on the streets of the refugee camp, hang out in the family store, spend time with grandma — we encourage you to get to know these children whom we have had the privilege of teaching, playing with, and learning from over the past three months. You will soon fall in love with them and their families, just as we did.

The photographs taken by Abrar, Noor, Yaseen, Mohammed, and many more are now available for viewing on the Triple Exposure website, under “student artwork.” Below is a shot of the mural the young artists painted this fall, with more photos to follow!

The fourth mural produced by the kids of Triple Exposure!

— Doris, Project Coordinator

“Triple Exposure” is a TYO initiative that aims to develop identity, awareness, and vocational skills among children and adolescents through teaching photographic expression and the production of public art.

“Suwarna” Moves to Nablus on November 6!

A photo taken by Muntaser, age 10, from Balata refugee camp


Our Pictures

A Photography Exhibition by the Children of Nablus City and Refugee Camps


November 6, 7, 8

9AM to 5PM

Hamdi Munko Center, Nablus


Take a trip around Nablus through the eyes of her children: begin downtown at the central circle to see costumed juice vendors, shoppers, and Nabulsi goods being sold, pass through the Old City to visit the children’s homes, pets, and the local shopkeepers, climb up the high stairways toward the hillside neighborhood of Khallet al-Amood, and move to the edges of the city where the homes, schools, and streets of Balata refugee camp, Askar refugee camp, and Al-Ayn refugee camp are found. Continue on to the villages outside the city, where life-sustaining olive trees grace the landscape as the pools in family waterparks lie half-empty.

“Triple Exposure” is a TYO photography and public art project for youth from the refugee camps, Old City, and marginalized neighborhoods of Nablus. The project harnesses the unique ability of art education to encourage creativity, self-expression, self-confidence, analytical abilities, and a sense of identity among youth.

For further information: please visit

“Suwarna” (Our Pictures) is an exhibition of photography taken by the participants in this project: Palestinian boys and girls, ages 10 to 16, who have used their cameras over the past year to capture their homes, neighborhoods, schools, friends, hobbies, and daily moments of beauty.

Directions to the Hamdi Munko Center: Hamdi Munko is located on Muntaza Street next to the Jamal Abdel Nasser Municipal Park in downtown Nablus, near the Nablus Mall. The center is behind the Municipal Stadium.

To contact the exhibition organizers: please call Doris at 059-858-8795 or 2380352, extension 116. You can also write to doris[at]

To contact the Hamdi Munko Center: please call 9-2337019.

“Suwarna” would not have been possible without the tireless support of the Tomorrow’s Youth Organization staff and volunteers, the Hamdi Munko staff, the Nablus Municipality, and Zoom Advertising. We are sincerely grateful for their efforts.

Summertime for Triple Exposure!

Check out the new post by Project Coordinator Doris on the Triple Exposure website:

As the summer winds down, we are taking a break from class to observe Ramadan (and to set everything in motion for the fall!). June and July were busy months — whether hiding from the heat by making a trip to the local mall to take photos, staying in the shade while making a mosaic, or using their cameras to show me their homes and families, the kids of Triple Exposure spent their summer holidays producing beautiful work, which I am now proud to show you.

Take a few minutes, sip a cool drink, and enjoy photos of Triple Exposure students putting their designs on city walls, capturing their lives and their city with their cameras, and generally having a rocking good time.

“Triple Exposure” is a TYO initiative that aims to develop identity, awareness, and vocational skills among children and adolescents through teaching photographic expression and the production of public art.

Intern Journal: Learning to draw

While all of the other children started drawing and decorating self-portraits of themselves in the present and in the future, Mahmoud sat still staring absent-mindedly at the table filled with art supplies. His brother Ahmad tried to give him oil pastels and paper, but Mahmoud refused to take them. He exclaimed that he just wanted to sit and not draw anything, but something made me feel that there was some other reason Mahmoud did not want to draw.

Over the past few weeks, I had noticed that Mahmoud never picked up a marker or crayon voluntarily during free time drawing despite the wide variety of colors and choices. Even when he finally picked one up, he would often just hold it in his hand and not use it. This lack of interest in doodling or drawing baffled me considering the fact that he continued to come week after week to my Arts & Crafts class. He was a good student who always listened carefully during storytelling, helped clean up at the end of class and was generally in a good mood. Why did he not want to color and draw like the other children?

I sat down at the table next to Mahmoud and started drawing my own self-portrait in hopes that maybe that would encourage him to start drawing. When that failed, I called over my translator Waleed to see if he could ask him why he did not want to draw. Mahmoud responded, “I don’t know how to draw. I can’t do it.” I quickly said, “Anyone can draw! Here I will teach you. It’s all about experimenting and having fun.”

For the rest of the class period, Mahmoud happily drew portraits of himself in the present and portraits of himself in the future as a teacher. As I watched him, I started to think about his response to my earlier question. Before coming to TYO, Mahmoud probably did not have the chance to express himself creatively and as a result, he did not think that he could do so. With a little bit of encouragement and direction though, he was now a little artist in the making. As he came running up to me waving his artwork, I could not help but smile broadly at his newly discovered enthusiasm for drawing. “Mumtaz Mahmoud!”

– Hannah

Hannah is an intern at TYO Nablus this summer.

[Triple Exposure] Nablus: How Things Are Made and the People Who Make Them

Check out the latest post by Project Coordinator Doris on the Triple Exposure website:

In addition to learning how to create beautiful images and generally having a rocking time exploring Nablus, my photography class this summer has learned about the many ways in which a photograph can tell a story. In class we have focused on two ways to tell a story in a photo: first, through profiling a person, and second, through documenting a process.

Follow the link above to see our photo students depict how all those delicious Nabulsi treats get made!

Shaking Things Up

One of the moments I enjoyed most over the past five weeks happened when my class took painted toilet paper rolls— “telescopes”—outside to the TYO balcony. The children peered out across their city and excitedly called out what they saw: buildings, mosques, cars, trees, birds, laundry, and more. Back inside, they drew some of those sights to create a Nablus scene for our classroom wall.

With the goal of stimulating further observations of their world, I planned this Tuesday’s class around the theme of sound. We started with a rhythm game involving clapping, stomping, and snapping. Then we spent two minutes listening to the sounds we could hear from our classroom and writing them down. Keeping the kids quiet and focused on their own paper during this activity was challenging. In general, conveying the idea that there is not one right answer has proven difficult in class since the education system in Palestine focuses a lot on memorization.

Nevertheless, when we compiled a group list on the board, all of the kids were eager to be called on. And like the telescope activity, they put more effort into their subsequent drawings of what they heard than in activities when they are drawing less concrete things.

We spent the rest of class making musical instruments. When the children asked whether they could take their project home with them, I replied, “Of course!” At the end of the of the day when they walked out of TYO to the rhythm of shaking popcorn kernels, I noted to a volunteer that the bus drivers might be annoyed with me; However, I was pleased to hear the kids making music. I hope that those sounds are a first step toward raising their voices.

How To: Plastic plate shakers

Materials: plastic/paper plates, magazines, crepe paper, popcorn kernels (or seeds , rice, or beans), glue, scissors, stapler

Step 1: Cut out pictures from magazines. Glue images to the bottoms of two plates. These plates will be the outside of your instrument.

Step 2: Cut strips of crepe paper to make short streamers.

Step 3: Turn one plate facing up (as if you were going to eat from it.) Pour some popcorn kernels onto plate.

Step 4: Place streamers around the edge of plate so that most of the tail is not on the plate.

Step 5: Place second plate on top, decoration side up. Staple plates together, making sure to staple over the streamers.

Step 6: Shake-shake-shake!!


Kara is an intern at TYO Nablus and a participant in the Kalimatna Initiative.