Four years ago my grandmother passed away at the age of 91. She was a humble, ascetic woman. Her home was, too, a clean home, clear of bold colors and ornaments. It was a minimalistic home and some may say almost a monastic one. But behind this some-what “grey” figure stood a strong and idealistic woman whom until two months before her passing completely rejected any help that was offered to her. On her bedside table laid a solid black volume of the Bible and hiding behind the closed closet doors was a world of books. That’s where I found the book “Woman of the bible” (1964). It was worn-out, colorless and lacked illustrations but as I started reading it, I knew it would be the subject of my next project about woman placed in the “background” of stories that seem to be small and un-glamorous, but, like my grandmother, were dominant, strong and intriguing.
This project is dedicated to her.
I was born in Israel of 1978, only 30 years after it was pronounced a state. It was a time filled with wars and fighting for Israel’s survival and at the time, being occupied by fantasy and spirituality was perceived a privilege. From the art books my parents possessed at their home I was exposed to new worlds, rich in colors and compositions that were ever so different from my surrounding and my every-day life and in my travels around the world I was exposed to different cultures; Monotheistic and pagan, religious and non-religious. All of these captured my imagination and took it to far-away places. The Renaissance art was where I got my inspiration for the “Woman of the bible” project although not in a religious way but in a personal and universal way. To be precise, being a non-religious Israeli woman, in Israel.
My work on this project, starting with research and up to the finish-line, lasted for three years. Many of my family members and close friends took part as actors and extras, including my husband Yaron and our dog, Sacha. Photography locations were picked after ever-lasting and exhausting site-searches all around the country. Some of the costumes and props were taken from my grandmother, Miriam’s “private collection” and some were designed especially for the project.
During all the hard work I became a mother and although the work pace slowed down following myself having a child it felt as if there was an even bigger need for me to pursue and push forward the project in order to finish and fulfill it.
For my project I chose nine women in order to bring forward the discussion surrounding women dealing with dilemmas, women asking questions and women doing things. All the women I chose have something in common, and furthermore, I was touched by them all. Even though they were all chosen from the bible, they are, to my opinion, timeless figures. The costumes, the background and the characters could be attached to any time or place in Israel and so could their struggles, questions, concerns and their ways of coping with reality.