The Long Journey Home.
The longest journey of a man, is the way home after a lifetime away. This was supposed to be the story of how my father, Mahmud Abu-Khdeir Vega (75), a Palestinian born in Jerusalem in 1944, was able to come back home for the first time after 43 years of exile. He left in 1966, as many others, to study medicine in Spain, the land of his mother, Antonia Vega, but due to the occupation, he wasn't able to return. Until 2017 (and with the help of his spanish passport) when we finally made the step.
My mother, Elisa, a 62-year-old Spaniard that married him more than 40 years ago, has always been the familiar, close and somehow safe part of my identity.
What began as the story of a trip back home, has turned out to be a personal diary, an intimate conversation with my father – one I never had the chance to have due to a not always easy relationship between us –, a way to break the walls of fear, loneliness and uprooting bringing us all closer.
Afterfour spine operations, my father intuits that he won't be able to return to Palestine again and that trip a year and a half ago, has been a sort of closure that he needed in order to start mending his broken heart; like solving a puzzle. Perhaps he won't be able to go back home, but he is home, for home is wherever love is.
This intimate portrait explores the evolution of identity in different layers, the need of closure of a life cycle marked by pain, absence and loss, but also by the happiness of having built a family – our family –, in Spain. Through image (photography, historical family archival photograph and painting) I create a dialogue with my father (and my family) that allows me to get to know him with new eyes, creating new bonds and ways to understand each other.