It is possible in January to stand in the mountains above the Palestinian city of Ram Allah and watch the rain storms moving across the Mediterranean towards the shimmering mass of towers that are Tel Aviv. The illusion of these buildings being within touching distance is always with me when I am standing on the west facing slopes of the mountains of Judea and Samaria. Within minutes the light changes from golden to black and back again until finally the rain explodes onto the hillsides all around. In the coming weeks the high desert mountains will change from scorched ferrous gold to bright green and purple and back to metallic hues again. Somewhere in between everything is possible and everything is watched and noted for here in The West Bank of the river Jordan every inch of land is known, recorded and potentially about to become a source of conflict and argument.
Many of these paintings are part of an ongoing series representing this disputed land, its natural beauty and the scars of the many thousands of years of conflict, the secrets it holds and the possibility of renewal both physical and political. Alongside the landscapes are a series of paintings inspired by collection of early Christian icons in Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai, Egypt. These images of Christ, the devil and ‘Jacobs Ladder’ offer a counterpoint to the natural beauty of Israel’s land. Finally, several of these paintings refer to biblical stories and their echoes in the modern world. The painting “Gulf of Aden,” for instance, shows a small boat traveling on the sea at night whether the boat contains fishermen, pirates, refugees or pilgrims is up to the viewer to decipher. An area mentioned in the book of Chronicles as the ‘court of death’.
While these paintings are individual works, I hope that my grouping works such as “Adora” a landscape of a Settlers community in the West Bank with the religious iconography of the figurative works I am able to immerse the viewer in the world of my experience of living in this disputed land.
These paintings are an ongoing series I am making during my time living in Jerusalem. When I arrived, I thought the city would only be a temporary home. Now ‘next year in Jerusalem’ is a permanent reality, for every year I will now spend time working and traveling and just being there.