I chose to leave Israel over a decade ago, a departure that is perceived as a betrayal and even treason in parts of the Jewish-Israeli psyche. During my last year’s many visits I sought to make present the past of Mi’ar, the lost Palestinian village and unattainable home of its descendants, who long for it to this day. I’ve observed how my family and friends reacted to my outsider-insider perspective and kept asking myself whether I belong? I invited members from both communities to a conversation in silence with me. This act of conversing through a gaze gave a physical space for taboos to surface and float. The situation I created was set within the intimacy of familiar communities. The atmosphere was very emotionally charged as I was confronting my parents, childhood friends and the entire community with political and social taboos. I position myself as a mirror to the community and at the same time I was examining my own reflection in the eyes of the community.
This project called Jewish Israelis from Ya’ad to confront with the local Palestinian narrative and encourages the diasporic Palestinians from Mei’ar to share their family stories about the collapse of their home and culture. We ask what it takes to start the process of recognition, reconciliation, and redress. We build on prior foundations of partnership established 15 years earlier through a joint communication project. Enabling a group of artists to counter historical amnesia can allow the possibility of creating a new and non-violent future together. This project was transformative for me as an individual as well as an artist and to the community as a whole.