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Al Khalil/Hebron Journal 
Landscape and Power I: Al-Shuhada St. 
Charcoal on paper
27 x 22.5 inches
2014

Landscape and Power II
Mixed media on paper (charcoal, photograph)
21.5 x 24 inches
2014
Security and Heritage (בטחון ומורשה)
Charcoal on paper
14 x 17 inches
2014
Untitled (drawing lessons/ Al-Shuhada St.)
Mixed media (charcoal, pastel, photo-collage)
24 x 18.25 inches
2014
I began working on this series in 2013. In summer 2014, the State of Israel launched its third military operation in Gaza since 2008. The two drawings below are part of a multi-image work-in-progress that has expanded the project's initial geographic boundaries - Al-Khalil/Hebron - to include this recent devastating chapter in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.  These drawings are first attempts; they will most likely be reworked, perhaps replaced, and the group of images in the final piece may expand. The piece will also include a Hebrew poem by Yitzhak Laor titled The Harvester (הקומבין ). I feel fortunate to have this poem to work with, not only as an element in the series, but also for artistic guidance in searching for a visual quality that Joseph Brodsky, writing about William H. Auden's poem September 1939, described as "sorrow controlled by meter." In this case, to sorrow I should also add horror, and anger. Many thanks to Yitzhak Laor for letting me include the poem in the work, and to Rutie Adler and Chana Kronfeld for invaluable help in translating it. 


The Harvester

Here is our big harvester, waiting like a dark mound, bald
in the night, in the rain, dripping clear water, and in the morning glistening and pure
it awaits, blinding bright like a lake in spring, in summer ablaze, it awaits
its turn, its quiet engine awakes, gurgles gingerly at times,
it trembles with desire to get going, go out, crawl across an insect-
covered land, maid-servant to the genius-man, but the moment is yet to come.
In stillness it awaits still its Big Day, the iron testicles of the
Master of the Place at the ready, to cover all with lead. A thrill cuts us like a scythe, a hollow body
waiting for a bit of
soul to be let into it, like air into an oboe playing hymns to the harvest. Into the streets
we shall go, into the fields we shall come, the miraculous revival of our rotten flesh, lo, like a giant
caterpillar it drags itself up to haul in its plunder, the smoke of exhaust fumes rise up
and the sweet savor of motor oil, holy incense of worship, our kids, 
follow it, after waiting quietly in place, donning army gear and profane sands, the foreskin of their
conscience cut off, and he who is afraid, conquers
his fears, and he who worries is ashamed, and he who is shamed gets over it, this
is the greatest time of our lives, the body suddenly has a spiritual meaning. 
And when the harvest is expelled, we remain silent, the loudspeakers talk
in our stead, blood pounds in the chest, flows from the mouths of broadcasters, attendants. 
Behold our proud nation, a barren woman yells: I gave birth. Sing O barren woman,
Thou that didst not bear; go glean after the harvester. 


Yitzhak Laor, 2009-10
Translated from the Hebrew by Rutie Adler, Chana Kronfeld, and Noga Wizansky
Harvest - Tour of Duty in Hebron (Al-Khalil)
Charcoal, photo-collage on paper
21.5 x 24.5 inches
2015
Harvest, Gaza 2014 
Charcoal, photo-collage on paper
21.5 x 24.5
2015

Route to Al-Khalil/Hebron (A Jewish-Israeli-American looks at the occupied West Bank through a bus window), 1-6 
Series in progress
Charcoal on paper
14 x 17 inches
2015 - ongoing
A Palestinian home protected from the stones and garbage that Jewish settlers routinely throw.
Charcoal on paper
14 x 17 inches
2015
Several years ago on a visit to family in Israel (one of my childhood homes), I joined a tour to Hebron/Al-Khalil with the Israeli veteran combatant organization Breaking the Silence. The experience was informative and deeply disturbing. Photographs that I took on the tour became departure points for the drawings on this page and an accompanying essay in development.
Route to Al-Khalil/Hebron 1
Route to Al-Khalil/Hebron 2
Route to Al-Khalil/Hebron 3
Route to Al-Khalil 4
Route to Al-Khalil/Hebron 5.
Route to Al-Khalil/Hebron 6
We left northern Tel Aviv in a chartered bus on a mild winter morning. The ride to Al-Khalil/Hebron, 68 kilometers, took just over an hour. In other respects, the distance between the two cities is enormous. My companion, a resident of Tel Aviv traveling beyond the Green Line for the first time in many years, told me that he began feeling afraid forty minutes into the drive, as soon as we started passing stretches of land and built spaces that looked different from those tended or designed by Israeli urban planners and landscapers. Rolling hills, terraced and cultivated in small patches; dense cities with buildings irregularly sited and punctuated by rising minarets; land studded with rough shacks and torn tents. All these signaled that we had crossed into "The Territories," which for this Tel Aviv dweller felt foreign and cloaked in an aura of danger and irrational enmity. 

My drawings for the Al-Khalil/Hebron Journal are marked by the power of the occupier. More bluntly, they represent views of an apartheid system from the vantage point of its enforcers and beneficiaries. They represent the experience of someone who has never lived in the West Bank or Hebron/Al-Khalil but who, when she traveled it, was secure and free to move in ways that its Palestinian inhabitants are not; someone who saw the Occupied Palestinian Territories initially through the glass pane of a comfortable bus and then from places in them where only Jews and other non-Palestinian visitors are allowed to tread. I try to signal this viewpoint in several ways: through perspectives encoded with the spatial privileges visitors with Breaking the Silence occupy, observed places interrupted with distant landscape forms that make power relations visible within the drawing frame, and fingerprints that invoke the bus window separating my body from the occupied space I was traveling in. All these attempt to open the signifying work of the paper surface - allowing it to simultaneously evoke open space and a glass barrier; the infrastructure of occupation; presence and segregation; longing and grief.