International Women’s Day: Weaving a common future

Anyone who visited Sindyanna of Galilee in Kafr Qana on Saturday (March 4, 2017) was impressed by an unusual sight: some fifty Arab and Jewish women, including members of the...

The joint effort puts women in a position where we are equal

Anyone who visited Sindyanna of Galilee in Kafr Qana on Saturday (March 4, 2017) was impressed by an unusual sight: some fifty Arab and Jewish women, including members of the Workers Advice Center (WAC-MAAN), women from Sindyanna, and members of the general public, all busily weaving baskets from date fronds. Some had their heads bowed to the work, others were exchanging ideas, and still others were examining the finished products. The event commemorated Women’s International Day, and it commenced with a basketry workshop. This is a fun experience affording direct contact between women who do not normally meet. The weaving was guided by Rachel Jerbi Lugaci, who teaches groups of Jewish and Arab women at the Sindyanna Visitors Center with the help of her former student, Mariam Menzel, as well as Asmahan-Abu-Hilal from the village of Arara.

On the right, Ismahan Abu Hilal

Ismahan is a skilled weaver and teacher who began her career at Sindyanna a decade ago. There were two groups from Baka

On the left, Rachel Jerbi Lugaci

al-Gharbia and East Jerusalem, both belonging to the WAC-MAAN women’s forum, as well as Arab and Jewish women from communities in the Galilee.

“I too come from the field of art,” said artist Edna Ben-Zvi from Tivon. “The language of art is an international language that brings together women from diverse backgrounds. I wove a placemat. To overcome the language barrier, I spoke with the Arab women using my hands, but the joint effort puts us in a position where we are equal.”

Sigalit Landau explains her Art-Video in the Dead Sea

Salt basket, Landau’s contribution to Bread & Roses art sale exhibition 11

After the weaving, renowned artist  Sigalit Landau captivated the women with a talk about her Dead Sea art project. She said she had sculpted baskets from salt—a fact that created an immediate connection between her and the weavers. Landau began with an explanation of her video art installation, “The Endless Solution”: an eternal loop of five hundred watermelons, in which the nude artist is caught, slowly unraveling and reforming in the Dead Sea. She told the group how she had made the video, and why she had chosen the sweetness and redness of watermelon to stand in contrast with the Dead Sea salt. She described her connection as a Jerusalemite with the Dead Sea. She spoke of the difficulty and uniqueness of sculpting with salt, which is best done in the oppressive heat of July and August. She introduced objects made of salt crystals, including a carpet beater and a black dress which, immersed in salt water, had emerged as a spectacular wedding dress weighing 200 pounds. Landau contributes regularly to WAC-MAAN’s “Bread and Roses” exhibition, whose proceeds go to promoting the economic empowerment of Arab women. This year she contributed a braided basket made of salt crystals.

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About Michal Schwarz