The Eye of the Storm

Video Installation; textile and video projection, 2017

The white “sukkah” is like those typically constructed for the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. 

Black fabric covers the interior and a video of a white vortex plays on the upper part of the structure. This hybrid sukkah, a temporary dwelling, a place of transition, deals with the concept of wandering, merging Muslim and Jewish tradition and aesthetics. “I was born in Jerusalem,” the artist relates, “but I always felt myself a stranger. I have been wandering ever since, seeking a place that gives me a feeling of permanent security.” Her installation suggests a metaphor for Jerusalem as a city of purity and holiness, in stark contrast to the dark storm that threatens to burst out of it. The whiteness of the sides of the sukkah is also the whiteness of the attire of a Sufi dervish, and of the woven clothes worn by Muslim men when they enter the sacred state of pilgrim purity (“Ihram”) in Mecca. 

The embroidered blue decorations of the sukkah are based on blue exhibits in the museum’s permanent collection. In Islam, the color blue is connected to mysticism and protection against the evil eye; and, as in Judaism, it symbolizes the connection with Heaven, the dwelling place of God. Black is the color of the Kaaba in Mecca, and of the gold-embroidered cloth that covers it, while a white cloth beneath it protects the structure. In the isolated inner space of the installation, the video-whirlpool simulates the dizzying dance of the dervishes. This is public space but also private, an ambiguous minimalist refuge in which order and chaos cohabit, giving visitors an opportunity to look into themselves and become, perhaps literally, entranced. 

Alon Razgour, Exhibition Curator

For more info: The Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem