"Dear Laila, you are five now and have started to ask me where I grew up, and why we can’t go there. This is me trying to give you an answer."
The seeds of Dear Laila were planted when Basel’s five-year-old daughter Laila began to ask him about his home growing up. Unable to take her there, he decided he would try to bring the place to her, by creating a model of his childhood home in Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus.
Dear Laila shares the Palestinian experience of displacement and struggle through the story of one family. Using retelling of memories and tactile details, it explores how war and exile are experienced through the everyday, the domestic, and the public space – to bring this now destroyed place to life.
In Arabic or English
Basel Zaraa is a UK-based Palestinian installation artist whose work uses the senses to bring audiences closer to experiences of exile and the search for identity. His current project, Dear Laila is an interactive installation that recreates his destroyed family home in Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus. His previous work includes ‘As Far As My Fingertips Take Me’, a collaboration with Tania El Khoury which has toured internationally since 2016. ‘It was awarded outstanding production at the Bessie Awards in 2019.
By Basel Zaraa
Translator and script editor: Emily Churchill Zaraa
Sound engineer: Pete Churchill
Commissioned by Good Chance Theatre and supported by Arts Council England
Basel Zaraa Dear Laila
Location: rue August Orts, 20 28, 1000 Brussels