Curator: Hedva Shemesh
On December 12, 2001, in the midst of the Second Intifada I wrote in my diary: “As daily life becomes an effort, art becomes both a luxury and a vital bubble.” In those days when death was so palpable in our daily life, I lived in such bubbles to keep on going. On March 10 a personal bubble exploded when a terrorist blew himself up at the café Moment, my brother-in-law’s café. Five days after the bomb attack, I went to photograph the destroyed site. In the series Moment, the urbane landscape caught in the mirrors that survived the blast, whereas what was once a cosy and fashionable cafe is now an open wound, and empty space, in the heart of one of Jerusalem bourgeois neighbourhood.
The exhibition Scar and the ensuing dialog with my friend Hannan Abu Hussein and with Alaa Francis whilst working on the movie Drawers also became a way of creating an alternative reality.
I exhibited several works related to Border Land and created a site-specific installation, Red Lines using thin red threads which generated a visual and conceptual link between the red landscapes of the 5 Camera Obscura, The red jumper of the passer-by in Moment‘s tryptich, the red lines of my Road Maps as well as the thinner red threads of Hidden Maps. After five days of intensive work five red spools were encased in cement to the floor.
Border Land Story:
The road maps of Jerusalem drawn with red threads and concealed inside the work “Hidden Maps” initiated a mental and geographic journey into the Border Land, a journey triggered by the anxiety I feel as everything seems to shrink around me.
I gave a lecture on my work in Mishkenot Sha’ananim. Facing the walls of the Old City, on this cold and sunny winter day, the dialectic of the Holy Land struck me once more. During the lunch break I heard of the bomb attack in Haifa. As daily life becomes an effort, art becomes both a luxury and a vital bubble.
My bubble exploded last Saturday at 10 p.m. in the blast at cafe Moment. Every morning I pass in front of the ruins of what had been for a short time my temporary studio and I light a candle. Thursday morning I went to photograph the site. My legs and hands were shaking.
Today I photographed the deserted railway track that enters Beit Tsafafa whose minaret I see through the windows of my studio. I needed to actually explore the site of “Map no.1 Talpiot-Bet Tsafafa”, breaking with my presence the abstract realm of these road lines I had drawn on the map. I did not cross over to Bet Tsafafa.
Yesterday I hung “Map no.1” in a joint exhibition of Israeli-Palestinian artists in Um el Fahem. For a while art had created a different reality. This morning, police roadblocks were set up not far from my studio. I heard on the radio that a terrorist boarded a bus in Beit Tsafafa, many Israeli children died. Later I met with my friend Khen in Tel Aviv, I also took an appointment with Hannan, I hope we can work together on a joint project.
Two days ago, the army shot a missile at the house of a wanted Hamas terrorist, killing many women and children. How many more Palestinian and Israeli children are going to die?
The letters TV stuck on my car, I went to photograph the borderline around Jerusalem. On our way to Qualandia, a soldier asked to see some official papers, we were not allowed through. Bomb attacks occur at a regular pace and I have many nightmares. In my daily life I repress my anxiety, but my unconscious and my art refuse such a solution.
In the cafeteria of the university, surrounded by students speaking hebrew and arabic, I dream of alternative ways. Earlier on, Hannan and I met with Alaa. He has agreed to shoot the movie which seems to us the most appropriate format for a collaborative work. Alaa graduated from Bezalel a couple of years ago, he did a short film on the Borderline when he was living in Bet Hanina.
I went back, this time with Alaa, to film the railway line, we walked along the tracks and under the bridge into Bet Tsafafa, he showed me the house he had shared with his brother before going to Art School. Once a week, we all meet, the movie is progressing and slowly this exhibition has become for me a way of creating an alternative reality.
Published in hebrew in: Scar, The New Gallery, “Teddy Soccer Stadium, Jerusalem, 2003