The Seven Fruits of Israel/Palestine | 2006
This project consisted of an installation of seven drawings, and a table installation, and was my Thesis Project for my MFA at Brooklyn College.
The drawings are made using juices from the actual fruits and grains listed in Deuteronomy: wheat, barley, grape, pomegranate, fig, olive, and date. The images are based on histology of the digestive system; magnified cellular tissue from the lining of the stomach and intestines. The table installation includes an embossed print of the seven fruits with Hebrew and Arabic text, and two sets of bowls of the seven fruits and grains for visitors to the opening reception to eat.
The “Seven Species” are fruits and grains listed in the Torah that have traditionally been used by Jews to praise the land of Israel as their God-given homeland.
Jews and Palestinians have a right to live peacefully on this land that brings them sustenance. Modern definitions of nationhood have used ancient texts to justify exclusive rights to the land by one group or another. A way towards peace could include reconsidering the way land is assigned to groups of people, and a return to an understanding of stewardship as opposed to ownership of land. Blessing and celebrating the food we eat and where it comes from can return us to an experience of connection to and responsibility for the land and each other.
Eating these seven foods was a way for me to connect my body to the land of my heritage, and to bring awareness to the actual source of my flesh. I drew the tissues of the digestive tract (lower stomach, small intestine, upper larger intestine) as the site of absorption of food. At these cellular junctures, the products of the outer world of nature are transformed into the inner world of my body.
When YHWH your God brings you into a good land,
a land of streams of water, springs and Ocean-flows,
issuing from the valleys and hills;
a land of wheat and barley, fruit of the vine, fig, and pomegranate,
a land of olives, oil, and date honey,
- a land in which you will never eat bread in poverty,
you will not lack for anything in it-
a land whose stones are iron, from whose hills you may hew copper:
when you eat, and you are satisfied,
you are to bless
YHWH your God
for the good land that he has given you.
- Deuteronomy 8:7-10 ( trans. Fox)