Icon for Jaffa

Installation

Icon for Jaffa I - Darat El Funun, Aman, Jordan (1996)

Icon for Jaffa II - Mark Hachem, Beirut Exhibition Centre, Beirut, Lebanon (2014)

The majority of Jaffa’s inhabitants left their city in 1948, carrying away with them only a few personal possessions but many recollections. Little may be left of their ageing belongings, but their memories are still illuminated by moments of their previous lives in their city.

Since then many of Jaffa’s houses have been demolished or had their features altered almost beyond recognition, and most of its inhabitants have been supplanted.

I have sought to collect that which could not be demolished or destroyed, the first memories that tie every human being to his or her city in the way an umbilical cord ties them to the womb from which they were born.

The work consists of 30 wooden boxes, each of which contains a postcard-size sheet of paper bearing a text written by someone who was born in Jaffa and spent his or her early years there. Inside each box there is a glass bottle filled with water from the sea off Jaffa, and strips of dried  orange peels fixed to an indigo surface in the form of a wave.

These boxes are displayed in a row. Next to each box stands a lit candle, and below each is a shallow container filled with water stained with the indigo pigment for which Jaffa was once famed for using, reflecting the candle's flickering flame.