Palestine/Plasticine 2011

Palestine / Plasticine is a plasticine replica of Dome of the Rock, a sacred shrine on the Temple Mount which stands in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem. The site's significance stems from religious traditions regarding the rock, known as the Foundation Stone, at its heart. The Temple Mount is an ancient place with broad religious and political significance. The history of the place is complex and exciting. This spectacular structure has stood in the center of major power struggles throughout history. Today, Israeli armed forces surround it, and the crescent moon - a symbol of the Islamic faith - rising over its dome. The keys to the compound are kept by Christian clerics.

When I visited the place in the past year (2010/2011), I admired the details of the structure and compound, feeling its greatness deep within my bones. Past, present and future swirled through my thoughts and feelings. The daily news in Israel about the Israeli/Palestinian separation fence within Jerusalem deepened the wrinkles in my forehead. I yearned for the day I would be admitted into the mosque, as in my childhood, and feel protected by its highness and holiness.

While photographing the model I became attuned to the changeable nature of structure, effectively emphasized by the choice of plasticine as a medium. Observing it arouses a sense of discomfort. The plastic that wraps the model suggests it is a work in progress and at the same time a presents a state of preservation. The lack of a religious finial on the model’s dome raises unresolved questions about its identity, cultural meaning and symbology. Are sculptures seen as temporal or eternal? Do we think of them as belonging to the past or the future? This artwork displays the changing effects of circumstance on the physical world, easily documented in the historical structures born out of ideas and concepts that are themselves changeable with the passage of time. The wooden “museum” shipping crate contributes to the aspect of preservation.

I see the ring of crystals and gemstones as a symbol of the continuous glamour and elegance that has been a part of this structure for hundreds of years. Its metamorphoses remain visible and felt. Dome of the Rock symbolizes the adherence and dedication of people who believe in the sanctity of this place - its spiritual legacy.

Plasticine is a material which can be easily processed and destroyed. It is unstable much like the uncertain future of the Palestinian state. The whiteness of the Temple Mount model conveys purity and cleanliness, but also nakedness and superficiality - an immaterialized quality. The sealed structure indicates the Israeli policy of sealing houses of Palestinian militants as a punitive measure. It also reminds me that I am forbidden to enter it.

White Plasticine, Swarovski crystals. Wooden platform.
Measures: 40X40cm base x 26cm high.
Crate. Wood. 45X45cm x 33cm height.