These paintings ‘mark’ various periods of my life: my childhood in post-holocaust Poland where my parents tried to provide a semblance of normal family life; the difficulties of the immigrant experience in Canada; and finally life in Israel, a place of physical and emotional beauty and some turmoil. The ‘marks’ made with acrylic paint, photography and ink are visual images of memories and reflections on personal history, place and time. Also, my father’s name was Markus.
The images of the past merge with those of the present. The monochromatic past blends with the coloured present. The palm fronds and succulent foliage of my current surroundings connote the longing of my parents for warmth, leisure, and some money to travel. The warm waters of the Mediterranean blend with the turbulent Atlantic. My father is in a fedora, carrying his briefcase and wearing his immigrant name tag is arriving. But to where? In Canada, fresh off the boat, in his 50s with no English and a wife and two children in tow. Or is he arriving in his beloved Israel, greeted by the warm sands, a strong sense of belonging and his surviving sister? He is “wearing” the letters he wrote to me; chiding me for not writing more often, encouraging me to buy nice things for myself, and sending me money and his love.
I feel a strong connection to this land, its language, its history, its people. Israel is full of sun, sand and ocean, green fields among deserts and hard-won battles for survival. But the ‘situation’ casts a shadow over this paradise and the security barrier is a scar on the horizon.
The images show a family at the park, at the beach, on a boat, arriving from a long journey. But, as always, things are not as simple as they seem. The damaged lives of survivors, complex family relations, the mobility of modern life and national conflicts mark all of our lives.