In his book “La Chambre Claire”, Roland Barthes describes a search for the portrait that will remind him of the essence of his mother, following her death. After my grandmother passed away, I found myself in a similar situation. I was standing in the darkroom with my grandmother’s personal belongings, trying to revive her memory through photogram prints of these belongings. But while the items left their esthetic impression, they were unable to grasp the memories. It was the scent of the items that took me back in time, as I stood in the darkroom that day. The scent brought back memories of mornings in my grandmother’s kitchen, and the view of the pomegranate tree through the kitchen window. Opening a pomegranate as a child, with my grandmother beside me, and looking at the inside of the fruit, is one of the strongest visual memories from my childhood.
The pomegranate arils function as a vehicle for remembrance for me. I look into them as if they were crystal balls. The translucent cover of the aril functions as a bubble protecting the seed. In some of my work, the arils function as a lens, and the light is projected through them and diffused into a ghost-like image. The dimension of those works is similar to a torso size. In others, the lens is looking carefully into each aril, exposing its “personality” essence. The size of those works is human head size and they are like portraits of arils.
The title of this series is “613”, the number that equivalent to the number of arils in each pomegranate, according to some Jewish traditions. According to the same tradition, the number of arils is in correlation to the number of organs and tendons in the human body and also to the number of Jewish laws (Taryag Mitzvot). One of the main works of the series that is now in process is a metaphorical journey into the symbolism of the pomegranate, and it will include a series of 613 arils. As my substance is an aril which includes a seed, this raw material includes genetic information that has a potential of presenting a new story, or a new way to glimpse into elements that it represents. No aril looks like its neighboring one; therefore I have the opportunity to look into 613 different stories.
My journey into the memories and the pomegranate arils brought me to the doorway/aperture of yet another journey: the journey of Persephone from the underworld to earth. This journey was forced upon her every year, as a result of eating pomegranate arils that were given to her by Hades. Her journey was an inspiration for my work “Migration Seeds”. As a granddaughter and a daughter of immigrants, I feel that the seeds of migration are rooted deeply in the family’s story. Migrating from one culture to another, the sense of alienation, and haunting sense of longing to be in another place, all these have a hold on me, too. Somewhere in the horizon will always be present a latent image of another culture that is provoking the passion to migrate. For me, the pomegranate arils are the keepers of a treasure of latent images.