“Garments of Reconciliation” (2009)
A series meant to provoke dialogue and foster co-existence.
Materials: black Egyptian cotton, digital scans on linen, cotton embroidery thread.
My concept was to take quintessential, symbolic garments of two people at conflict and combine them. I used the colorful embroidered insets that Palestinian women wear on their long black dresses and tzitzit that traditional religious Jewish men wear. So from the very beginning I was combining elements of male/female/Jew/Arab.
I went to the old Arab souk in Jerusalem and borrowed thirty different embroideries from my friend Mazen, a Palestinian. These embroideries are from different tribes and different Palestinian villages. Because they were old and precious, I did not want to cut them up, so I took them to Western Jerusalem to a modern Jewish print shop where they were scanned and digitally printed onto linen. I then returned the original embroideries and took them to Ibrahim, another Palestinian who owns a fabric store in the Old Arab Souk. I bought black cotton made in Egypt and he took the cotton and scanned embroideries to a sewing factory in Ramallah where Palestinians sewed them. When these were finished I gave them to a young, Jewish, Israeli man who tied the tzitzit for me. Throughout the entire process the artwork passed from the hands of Jews to Arabs, to Arabs and then Jews and so on.
I made them in the size that a small child would wear, because peace education begins at a young age. They are meant to symbolize hope and reconciliation.
My birthday is October 24, United Nations Day. As a child, I was given a book called “This is The United Nations,” which highlighted its international work. I loved the pictures of all the different flags, and people and the programs around the world. I was very proud of the fact that my birthday was shared by this amazing institution dedicated to world peace.
Today I feel very differently. Being an Israeli citizen, I find that I view most rulings and proclamations of the United Nations as absurd jokes; an international body hijacked by a group of nations who show favoritism or blindness depending on the issue or country.
I would like to think that these pieces were created out of the same desire which was similar to the original motivating forces behind the United Nations.email print