40 Days, 2013.
Venues: The British School at Rome, Rome; The Mosaic Rooms, London; Artpace, San Antonio, The 8th Berlin Biennial
Guez's installation, "40 Days" includes a two-channel video piece and photographic series about the destroyed gravesite in the Christian Palestinian cemetery in Lydda. The work deals with the position of the Christian Palestinian community as a "minority within a minority" in the post “Arab Spring” reality of the Middle East. The installation relates to the history of the image as an object - the tears, folds, and cuts. In the video you see the result of the destruction of the artist's family cemetery in Lydda, and, in parallel, the destruction of the actual photographs, which were taken to the police as evidence. The first destruction is a pure hate crime; the second, of the photographs themselves, notwithstanding poetic and aesthetic appearances, reflects the desperation of a disenfranchised and marginalized community.
As in other video works of Guez, this work also includes the voice of Samira, the artists' grandmother, in the background. In a few words and simple hand gestures, she describes the smashing of her own grandmother's tombstone, and the exile of her sisters after 1948 to Jordan and the UK.
* The exhibition was accompanied by a publication produced by The Mosaic Rooms, including essays by Omar Al-Qattan, and Mitra Abbaspour, curator at Moma, NYC.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church it is believed that the souls of the deceased wander the Earth for 40 days when ascension of the soul then occurs; special prayers at the gravesite and in the church are then held in memorial of the departed. The installation offers a deeply personal, familial story: the death of Ya’qoub Monayer and of his memorial service 40 days later. It also relates to a larger and more complex narrative: the story of the place where he is buried, the Christian Palestinian cemetery in Lod, which has been vandalized by other religious groups. The destruction of the cemetery reflects the position of the Christian Palestinians living in Israel as a minority within the wider Palestinian minority.
Two-channel video installation, 15:10 minutes, 2012.
The images originate from Guez's ongoing work maintaining the first Christian-Palestinian Archive. The original photographs were taken to document the vandalism of the gravesites in the Christian-Palestinian cemetery in Lod, a town between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The photographs were returned by the police after they failed to find those responsible for the desecration. They were kept in a kitchen drawer where they were exposed to condensation. The damaged photographs document a destruction in themselves as an object.
Scanograms, series of manipulated ready-mades, archival inkjet prints, 206X150 cm