In This Land
In This Land reflects on the mindset of contemporary Israel, investigating the psyche of a nation trapped in a conflict deeply rooted in a struggle for occupation and possession of land.
On my first trip, I travelled the complete land and sea border of the country, exploring the notion that Israel is not only a nation defined by its borders (surrounded by enemies, both perceived and real) but also a population living with, and seemingly trapped by, a collective siege mentality.
My second series (stones), reflects on Israel’s fiercely unwavering beliefs that its identity is embedded in the very fabric of the land, with its past, present and future inextricably linked to the rocky ground underfoot.
Confounded, photographically, by the over-familiarity of images of rock-throwing Palestinian youths in headscarves and militant gun-wielding Israeli settlers, this accompanying series of images (photographed with a large-format view camera, in the intense light of Israel) depict stones gathered from places in the country invested with historical, social, religious or military importance.
Lifted out of context and scrutinised, these seemingly benign objects seem to reveal the scars of history etched into them, bringing to mind past and future triumphs, tragedies and conflicts. The fact that stones have been employed throughout the Palestinian intifada resistance as both a practical and symbolic means of attack and resistance to the Israeli military adds a second layer of resonance to the images.
It’s hard not to feel some sympathy for the notion of a Jewish homeland. But the violent birth of Israel displaced so many Palestinians that the problems it created remain as fresh and as raw today as when the conflict first began.
Events that followed have spawned one of the most bitter, intractable conflicts in the world. In This Land provides psychological and historical insights, and aims to be a thought-provoking meditation on the disaster that is unfolding in Israel and Palestine today.