In 2020, just as the pandemic was beginning, Gazala purchased land in western Ohio, on which sits a disused school building. This site allowed her to explore her complex relationship with “the land.” As the daughter of displaced indigenous Palestinians, she attempts to form a proxy bond with the earth, on ground that was stolen from the displaced indigenous Shawnee people.

Closeness to the Land is video footage of hand-painted text signs that translate the word الأرض into six English words, displayed performatively in multiple locations to capture the now-invisible nature of indigenous culture in Ohio. These signs were installed on the old school house earlier this year.