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The Mount of Olives, 2014

Bandaged feet, Mount of Olives’ Jewish Cemetery, Jerusalem

 

In May, Max Jacot asked photographers from the Collective UPJ to take part in a project stretching over several continents. Two weeks before we were told to photograph our feet and the sky, the date was set to June 14, my hour would be 4 pm. I had no idea where I would shoot, I thought it would have to be a decision I would feel that same day. Intuition is what carries me through my artworks, even if there is a thread binding them, there is always a big part of unknown.

On Friday I decided I would go to the Jewish Cemetery of the Mount of Olives, I went to my studio and took bandages. It felt right.  A days before three Israeli teens, Naftali Fraenkel (16), Gilad Shaer (16), Eyal Yifrah (19) had been kidnapped, no one knew their whereabouts or if they were still alive. Bandages had been a material I had used since 2009 for the works related to Wounded Land and a week before I had performed “Compassion” at the Lepers Hansen House  in Jerusalem.

Upon arriving at the Mount on Saturday, as I walked among the graves, I remember thinking about the teens. I looked for ancient  graves and when I found one covered with fodder plants I stopped. I stood in front of it and took pictures of my bare feet on the soil, then on the stone, I photographed the sky above my head and the myriad of tombes spread all around me. At some point I dressed my feet with the bandages and photographed again the sky and the grave.

Little was I to know that two weeks later the bodies of the 3 Israeli teens, kidnapped by the Hamas, would be discovered not far from Hebron and that a few hours later three Jewish extremists (aged 29 and 17 years-old) would avenge them in a horrendous way by kidnapping and burning alive 16 years-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir from Shuafat. Their deaths sparked riots in the West Bank and 50 days of war in Gaza and Israel.

Somehow it was like a déja-vu: in June 2006, Gilad Shalit had been abducted by the Hamas and held in captivity for 5 years in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. A month later in July 2006, Udi Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were abducted in Israel along the Lebanese border, sparking the Second Lebanon War. Two year later their coffins were returned in exchange of Hezbollah prisoners.

In 2006 I had created the work: Missing, showing three white shirts flying in the wind, like white flags.

 

 

For the show Max Jacot and Béatrice Darnal created with the 19 images flags to be exhibited in the Botanical Garden of the Museum in La Rochelle

To read more about the show “Marelle” in French see La Fabrique de L’Image