Photographs from Mandate Palestine in the JH Iliffe Collection
JH ‘Harry’ Iliffe was Keeper of the Palestine Archaeological Museum in Jerusalem during the controversial period of the British Mandate for Palestine (1922-1948).
While Keeper (1931-1948), Iliffe not only acquisitioned for the Museum a remarkable 100,000 artefacts representing the prehistoric though to the Muslim phases of Palestine’s history, c. 200,000 BC - AD 1700, but was also rarely without a camera. Through exploring Iliffe’s photographic archive, Contested Histories challenges viewers to consider the practice of recording, interpreting, and in some cases, creating history.
Iliffe’s photographs document many of the complex social, political, cultural and religious issues transforming life in Mandate Palestine (present day Israel and the Palestinian territories). They encourage us today to think more deeply about both the historical and ongoing effects of colonialism, imperialism, and the nature and use of physical monuments and spaces, including the seemingly neutral space of a museum.