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Wheel Loader Caterpillar Tractor, 2010

The tractor was built during the Muslim month of Ramadan when the heat, hunger, and thirst make it impossible to do anything.  Most Palestinians think Caterpillar tractors are death machines.  I asked myself why they blamed this machine, when after all it is the person who renders the machine good or bad.  I drew sketches of this tractor on large rocks and on paper.  I may have seen one once or twice in my life, but really I remember seeing it on the internet.  I thought carefully about how to build it correctly.  I like these tractors, how they move, their size… This tractor is made from sawed iron pieces.  I requested the iron scrap from somebody in my village, who told me I was crazy and could take the scraps.  It was difficult to cut the iron as my tools were not good enough.  I felt this tractor in my body and my soul.

The tractor took a month to build. The most difficult part was making the plow that picks everything up.  The wheels were also difficult to make. I made them from foam board used to make the walls in the nearby Israeli settlement of Carmel. The foam board flew in the wind to Umm al-Khayr’s wadi (valley) where I collected it for the wheels.  I cut the wheels according to a plastic circle and heated up iron rods to make holes.  I used twisted wire to shape the form board and to make the grooves of the wheel.

When I find something I can use for my art, I am very happy, as if I found gold or something expensive. My art is my channel for coping with the hardships of life in the South Hebron Hills and under occupation.

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