Moran Shoub

And then it captivated me. After long hours of viewing the photographs I noticed that the majority of subjects were seeking shelter behind a wall or a building. Aware or unaware of the camera – the wall would always be there - like a curtain in a studio - as the suitable background for the subject.

Aware or unaware of the wall’s presence – it will always be there to protect or separate. The walls of a home protect its dwellers and separate them from the outside world. The wall, people will say, separates the interior from the exterior in order to protect, to separate between here and there and between people on either side. These walls, I realized, are what we work all our lives to obtain and what we fight for, for our home. Here we are, in the exhibition space, walls surrounding us on all sides, walls, walls and no ceiling. What does the space seem like to you? A building site? The ruins of a demolished home?

“The half ruined house / looks like a still unfinished house // God, who snaps only momentary photos and moves on / does not distinguish between then. // Only after time will we see there is a difference // when the house is totally demolished / or built [Yehuda Amichai in Poems for Rosh Hashanah]

Local Testimony’s 10th anniversary, and everywhere walls that attest to us: built-up walls, destroyed walls, surviving walls, walls covered in posters, walls, like the photographs themselves attest to life, a place, a period. Look at the photographs exhibited in Local Testimony in general and the photographed walls in this exhibition in particular – what can they teach us about ourselves? We live in the shelter of the walls. Living inside four walls is a basic right. But like in the photograph that immortalizes and transfixes the subject, thus the walls, instead of freeing us, immortalize and transfix the horrors of war.

A group of tourists standing near the Western Wall in Jerusalem – the city that covers heaps of ruins that mark its history and past. A tour guide directs their gaze and cameras: “You see the man with the baskets? At bit to the right of his head there’s / an arch from the Roman period. A bit to the right of his head. But / he moves, he moves! I said to myself: redemption will come only when they are / told. You see over there the arch from the Roman period? / Never mind: but next to it, a bit to the left and lower, sits a man / who bought fruit and vegetables for his home. [Yehuda Amichai, Tourists, trans. Benjamin Harshav].