Corner Stone

Ofakim, Israel

2022

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Corner Stone ("GInat Ha'Avanim") is a public sculpture that was realized, planned, and created altogether with the people of Ofakim.

In February 2022, as part of Midarom Festival residency program, I was invited to live in Ofakim

(a humble town in the south of Israel), in order to create a public sculpture.

As I was not a resident of the town, I decided to get to know the people before deciding how their public space will be constructed.

At first, I began wandering around the city; letting myself fall into aimless situations and incidental encounters; to randomly embed myself in what I felt was the atmosphere of the place.

 

The rhythm of Ofakim is a unique one, it feels as if time has a life of its own. I started to slow down, and let go of rushing away; from having a precise idea, nor for my stay, or for the sculpture. I met various people who welcomed me and offered warm-hearted conversations. I asked them to tell me about the city, what they like about it, and what is it they miss in it. As the days went by, I kept absorbing from every corner, a deep sense of community and benevolence.

I understood furthermore that a public sculpture in Ofakim needs to be realized together with the community. I kept wandering.

I was errant in an unknown town. When I didn’t walk around, I spent my time in corner shops, where people were discussing "this and that".

Through random and arranged encounters I got to know the various neighborhoods, the residents, and the special culture that inhabits the town. During one of my many aimless walks, I encountered a huge pile of bricks that was cleared off the city center due to a renovation. I began arranging the bricks in lines.

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I knew that this is not my city, I was a visitor. After a few days of systematic meditative action (of organizing the bricks in lines), I truly realized that it is not up to me to plan a sculpture in this public space - I can be (or want to be) only a vessel.

I decided to ship the bricks to a communal garden in order to plan and build together with the public.

I personally invited every person that I met during this month, along with invitations I sent to all the neighbors whom I didn’t meet yet.

 

Grown men, women, and kids joined together in the garden to re-plan their public space. For three days we aligned the bricks in different forms — again and again — till we achieved a structure everyone was pleased with.

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Once we composed a form of sculpture the residents were happy with, we sketched it out and then disassembled the structure. 

After some time we constructed it again, this time, we fixed it with cement.

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