In 2008 I started a series of prints about fences and walls -- places, usually at international borders, where people have built structures designed to keep other people out. I started with the border fence being constructed at the U.S. / Mexico border and then I went on to complete a print about the Great Wall in China (both shown below).
The next print I had planned for the series was the separation barrier between Israel and Palestine, but I began to feel afraid of tackling such a huge and volatile topic. So I decided that I needed to stick closer to home, to work with material that I know in my bones and that I feel "qualified" to critique. I spent the next 2 years making the 15 Pilgrim prints.
Now I feel ready to tackle Israel/Palestine. But first some caveats. It may sound silly to say this, but I want to be clear that a single print can not no how no way even begin to encompass the complexity and the magnitude of the Arab/Israeli conflict. I am a non-Jew, a 21st century American gentile woman with only a passing understanding of the complex history of the Jewish people. There's a lot I don't know.
What I do know is this. I know the Bible from a childhood spent reading it. I know the history of World War II mostly through my father, who fought for 3 years in Europe. And I know my American Jewish friends, some of whom call themselves Zionist but most of whom do not. Most of all I know my own heart. So this print will reflect me and my heart's feelings about Israel's separation barrier. I am an artist, not a reporter and not a historian.
But this print can't be made without working with historical material. There is probably no area in the world with a deeper history than the area we now call Israel/Palestine. It has been settled continuously for tens of thousands of years, archeologists have found remains of very early human and Neanderthal creatures, and it is one of the oldest sites of agricultural activity in the world.
May my print honor both the sacredness of this land and the tragedy of this conflict.