Jewish JesusMixed media (collage, watercolor, ink) 70x50cm
This collage mixed media piece brings together the various known elements relating to the crucifixion and burial of Yehohanan Ben Hagkol.
In a Jewish burial cave in Givat Hamivtar, Northern Jerusalem, dating from the late Second Temple period (1st Century CE), was found a fascinating limestone ossuary bearing the rough inscription in Hebrew of the name Yehohanan Ben Hagkol. In that period, Jewish burial was typically carried out by laying the deceased on a shelf in the family burial cave, and returning a year later to collect the bones (all that would remain) and place them in a limestone ossuary. Inside this particular bone box were resting the remains of a young man in his 20s, together with the bones of a child. This is not remarkable. Occasionally in ancient times, the remains of a second person from the same family would be added to an ossuary.
Yehohanan’s ossuary contents are so important because a long iron nail was found piercing the right heel bone of the deceased. This is the only material evidence ever found anywhere of the very common Roman practice of execution by crucifixion. Under the Romans, thieves and rebels as well as murderers were subjected to the humiliating, slow and painful death of crucifixion. We know nothing further regarding Yehohanan Ben Hagkol, including what his crime was. However, he has become renowned in his death in the modern era, because the nail which fixed his right heel to the wooden post of his cross, was bent. Once Yehohanan was dead, his family were at liberty to take his body down from the cross to bury it. Because the nail through his right heel could not be removed without causing further insult to his corpse, his family interred him with the nail and a bit of the wooden post, still in situ. For this reason, when his ossuary was opened almost 2000 years later, the researchers were amazed to find the iron nail still running through the heel bone.
As a result of this discovery, scholars have reconsidered how the Romans actually crucified people and have now determined that at least some of the time, the foot of the person was nailed to the post through the heel and not through the front of the foot as is familiar to us from centuries of Western art. In hundreds of paintings, Jesus -and others- are shown on the cross, universally depicted with the two feet nailed to the cross from the front, either each foot separately, or with the feet crossed and a single nail passing through from the front of the foot. This assumption is also the basis of the Stigmata.
In fact, Jesus the Jew, like Yehohanan the Jew, was most likely crucified by having his hands bound on a crossbar, and his heels nailed to the upright beam, as in my depiction.
This is the subject and content of my art work.
Yehohanan Ben Hagkol’s bones were reinterred in a Jewish burial and a facsimile of his right heel bone, with the nail running through it, is on permanent display in the Archaeology wing of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.
Dura Ben Gurionwatercolor, charcoal, ink, collage 75x75cm
This is a work based on frescoes in the 2nd century Dura Europos synagogue in Syria.
Here I relate to the West wall panel, depicting the Children of Israel crossing the Red Sea as described in Exodus 14, and I have produced a collage of photographs, drawing and painting.
My work features Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion as the Moses figure, referencing the Yishuv, the infamous 1939 British White Paper, the Holocaust, the various Aliyot, the 1948 War of Independence, the Declaration of Independence and the establishment of the State of Israel. As in the original, Ben-Gurion appears twice, each time enlarged and centrally positioned. I also reproduce the ‘Hands of God’, at the top of the work, in red.
Abraham’s aliya (and all that followed)watercolor, pencil, ink 35x50cm
This painting is based on two separate lines of research:
Firstly, the map of Abraham’s journey from Ur Cassdim, via Mari, Haran and Aleppo, into Canaan, according to the book of Genesis.
Secondly, a list (included) of the countries from which I found evidence of people making Aliya, i.e. moving to Israel.
I have incorporated, in the original Hebrew, excerpts from Genesis 12 verses 1-7, where God tells Abraham to leave his homeland, his birthplace, his father’s house and to proceed to a land which God would show him. God further promised that Abraham would be blessed, that He would make Abraham’s descendants into a great nation, and He would give that land over to them.
My idea is that in this way Abraham and his entourage become the first “olim”, people who leave their birthplace, their original homes, in order to resettle in the land of Israel, to build it up and make it their home instead.
My daughter the surrogatecollage, graphite 37x52cm
Reflection (Rodin’s thinker)light through pierced parchment 52x44x20cm
Piece of papercut paper 23x61cm
This is a kind of humorous tribute to René Magritte, who famously created a painting of a pipe, entitled ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe’ (This is not a pipe). No, it’s a painting of a pipe. Similarly here, the piece consists of two pieces of paper.
Migratingwatercolor over print 45x34cm
Washing up text
The text here was taken from an old school book, explaining, in great detail, how to wash up!