Saturday, October 14, 2006

Nomad Art

Despite over 3,000 years of use– there is no word for “home” in Hebrew. House (bayit) is a common term… but not home. For nomads it’s not so much about land as it is about place. Zionism didn’t start as a religious movement, it was hijacked by one. Zionism started as the concept of having a safe community for a specific group of people (the Jews) to reside. Some early Zionist programs envisioned a Jewish homeland outside Palestine (Argentina was on the list). Others pictured a bi-national state. Still others imagined there could be no where else but the land on either side of the Jordan River – we all know who won this argument.

Recent time spent in the intense study and reflection of the High Holy Days has led my mind to thoughts of living abroad... even more often than usual. While I am enamored by the concept of “making aliyah” or return to Israel, I’m not sure that it is in the cards for me and my family – at least not permanently. Having said all that, I am still in love with the rich loaded meaning of Israel as a place. I have friends that leave this week for Jerusalem. They have all been before, innumerable times for some. This trip, Sean has an open-ended ticket in order to find work and remain there for a couple years. Ben and his wife will visit for two weeks, before Laura returns home to Santa Fe and her husband stays behind for an extra bit of time to volunteer with the IDF. They are just a few of many that make endless trips to Israel. What is the explanation for the magic behind a place that draws so many year after year?

The exploration of enchantment seems like more than enough inspiration for a series of paintings. Maybe that’s what each of these places I paint have become – individual series within a singular theme. I’ve always looked at my work as a collection of smaller groups of paintings within each locale, rather than as the more obvious larger subjects. Maybe it is a fear of reinforcing stereotypes. Regardless, the “bounce” (as I call it) is the ultimate theme. We are nomads at heart, quite possibly by design. We live for the bounce, as well as the subsequent unending roll.

I’ve mentioned before that my daughter wants Paris, while my wife dreams of Florence and I’m intrigued by southeast Asia. Life is brief and the itinerary is extensive. We’d all enjoy a few years in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Maybe they’ll quit lobbing missiles at each other long enough for the opportunity. – DN

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