While millions of birds migrate freely in the skies, Fadia, a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon, is stranded by history on the wrong side of the border, yearning for the ancestral homeland she is denied. When a chance meeting introduces her to the director, Sarah, she challenges her to find an ancient mulberry tree that once grew next to her grandfather’s house in historic Palestine, a tree that stands as witness to her family’s existence.
With only inherited memories, a blind man and a two-headed dragon as her guides, Sarah begins her quest to find the tree. Along the way, she learns that the region is also one of the world’s busiest superhighways for bird migration and it is the observations of the ornithologists on the homing instincts of these millions of birds that inadvertently reveal key elements of the Palestinian refugee situation.
Spanning fifteen years, this story of a friendship that stays connected across a divided land and a fragmented people adopts a birds’ eye perspective to reflect on freedom of movement, exile and the hope of return.
Sarah Beddington is a British visual artist and filmmaker based in London. Her research-based works in film and video, sculpture, performance and public art, explore the overlaps between the historical, the mythical and the everyday, often focusing on journeys and migration. Traces in the landscape, the role of memory and non-chronological histories are also important components in her work. Seemingly disparate elements may become connected, opening up spaces to imagine alternate realities and possible future scenarios.