The People's Soul

Installation (1997)

Printemps Palestinien, Institut du Monde Arabe

Paris, France

Nasser Soumi is displaying a large wooden cube whose contents are invisible to the visitor when he or she climbs a ramp. At the top, the visitor realizes that the cube has been hollowed out and its inside has been lined with blocks of soap, emptied as well and filled with oil. In each soap, the artist has placed a lighted wick. When leaning over the cube, viewers discover this light.


Should we see an allegory in this work? There are echos of the film "Les Visiteurs du Soir" where two lovers turned into statues, although still alive, defy the Devil. Mad with rage, he whips the statues from beyond the grave and cries: "This heart which beats! And beats! And beats!..." All of France understood at the time that the German occupying forces were described as being unable to keep the soul of the French people from beating like the heart of the statues. Nasser Soumi's small flame in the Palestinian Spring is also a heart that beats, and beats, and beats…

Michel Nuridsany