To Cross the Border with a Pomegranate

Research output: Non-textual formArtefact


This work consists of a colour photograph, video projection of text and a sound piece. 'To cross the border with a pomegranate' is one way to translate the Hebrew sentence לחצות את הגבול עם רימון. The multiple meanings offered by the Hebrew sentence are a result of the use of the verb לחצות which could mean to cross, to halve, to split and to divide, and the word רימון which translates to both pomegranate and grenade. How one might read this sentence will therefore be determined by the context, prior knowledge of the circumstances and the landscape or site this work references.

The image of the two pomegranates in colour was a record of a gift given to the artist Dana Ariel as a token of hospitality when she visited the occupied territories of the West Bank. The video projection of the text provides the multiple ways to read the Hebrew sentence in English, while the sound piece gives an account in the artist’s own voice to the context of her visit to the landscape, how she received the two pomegranates and what led her to photograph them and create this work. The encounters in the landscape are informed by gender, political standpoint and national identity. For Ariel, being Israeli-German suggests complex historical and political implications that impact future encounters, how they might be read by viewers and the making of the work.

The multiple parts together explore the ambiguity of language and the potential of misreading to offer generative ways to re-examine preconceptions informed by prior knowledge and predetermined contexts. The work also experiments with cultural and political implications which the encounter in the landscape and in the gallery space when viewing the work could have in different languages and on viewers from different backgrounds. The possibility of knowing the context from which to read words and images is put into question by the encounter with the work and the narrative that led to its making.

The work evolved through multiple exhibitions and encounters with viewers in venues that include: Phoenix Brighton (Brighton Photo Fringe), Slade School of Fine Art, London and Maya Gallery, Tel Aviv. The sound work was especially created as a response to critique made by members of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign who visited the artist's exhibition in 2016. Questions relating to ambiguous methods of representations of the land were subjected to political scrutiny and misunderstanding of photographic practices. The challenges to the role of art in political discourse and in regards to political agency became determining factors in the making of this work.
Translated title of the contributionTo Cross the Border with a Pomegranate
Original languageOther
PublisherMaya Gallery
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2018


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