“Women of Arab Spring” is part of the larger series: “Dignity for Palestine”.


When I was young, I always dreamed of a faraway place of unknown, I felt alone and strange to my traditional Chinese upbringing in Taiwan. Since I was married and lived in the west at the age of 20, often I was feeling like a rootless lily drifting in the stream. With both familiar and adopted customs, I sometimes felt like a stranger in a strange land.

I have visited Palestine several times.  One special visit was with a delegation of academic scholars, doctors, and entrepreneurs – a contingent I joined because  I was very interested in the Arab – Israeli conflicts of the last several decades. I learned most, however, traveling by myself: taking buses and going through check points with the local Palestinians.  Despite the fact I could easily visit by cab flashing my American passport and “go the easy route”, I went through the security and humiliation that so many Palestinians endure at the hands of young Israeli soldiers at checkpoints. By contrast, I was greeted by courteous Palestinians on the bus, at their home, in the narrow alleys of shelter refugee camps. Many of them were born in the refugee camp and never have been able to leave to cross the separation wall between West Bank and Jerusalem, and walk the land they inherited from the ancestors before British Mandate in 1947. I very much identify and empathize with people who are estranged from their homeland and living in extreme hardship under the occupation.

People living in the Palestinian West Bank are bounded by the separation wall like being inside a giant cage; humiliated daily by security guards and Israeli soldiers on their street. The women work hard to keep their family, neighbors, community together in a monumental task to provide continuity of their culture.  Through my lens, I have been able to document intimate portraits in a natural state.  The women in these photographs show resilience, wisdom and empowerment.


Reviewer’s Statement

Sandra’s images – often artfully framed, with a disarming intimacy – reveal a vibrant, complicated community, one we rarely see in the American press. Sandra Chen Weinstein walked the streets of the Arab West Bank from Jerusalem, Jenin to Hebron, and took photographs. For many Palestinians, Chen was the first Taiwanese/Chinese woman they had encountered; there is openness toward her because of this. Dignity for Palestine, a piece of instructional history comes quietly but Indelibly across – the Palestinians are survivors.


Chen’s photographs provide continuity, therefore the prospect of a future for those she photographs, and herself. Out of the vast socio-political rupture of economic oppression and war comes a need to see and imagine one’s self through images that provide new identities and possibilities.


  • Carol McCusker

Curator of Photography

Harn Museum of Art


Sandra is self-taught and inspired by Sebastião Salgado and Magnum Photos. She has been selected as the only US Participant by Magnum Photo Master class/workshop in The Netherland with Stuart Franklin and Ian Berry in London.

Sandra’s work focuses on photography emphasizing human condition in social identity, culture, diversity. She has dedicated long-term projects on women, LGBTQI, minorities, and American pop culture. Sandra’s passion for photography was informed by her previous work for the Foreign Service that allowed her the opportunity to live in many countries.  Sandra has received numerous distinguished awards including: CENTER Director Choice’s Award First Place, National Geographic Magazine International contest winner for People & Reader’s Collection. 1st Prize Open Category Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards, 1st Place Prize Winner of Robert Cornelius Portrait Award, Runner-Up for International Conservation Award in Culture, Deepest Perspective for IPA, 1st place Sport on PX3, The Julia Margaret Cameron Awards and more. Her work has exhibited in Aperture gallery NYC, Annenberg Space of Photography, The Museum of Fine Art Washington County, Griffin Museum, Florida Museum of Photography, White Chapel Art Gallery etc., and internationally. Her work is in several private and public collections including Gordon Parks Foundation.

Sandra is a longtime supporter of philanthropic organizations such as Art for AIDS, Black Live Matters, Olive Tree Initiative for Arab-Israeli peace, The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), American Society for the prevention of cruelty of Animal (ASPCA), National Trust for Historic Preservation

I use Nikon D700, D850 with Nikko lenses. Hand Held shooting.

All prints are printed by me to collectors, museum, galleries and portfolio reviews.

Sandra Chen Weinstein