acrylic on perspex
128 x 160cm (including ornate frame)
THE BIRTH OF NEXUS
Time/Date: 6pm Sunday 2nd August 2015
Location: Intersection on Highway 60/ 367 between Bethlehem and Hebron, West Bank, Palestine.
I am here on a balmy evening surrounded by Jewish settlers, rabbis, peace activists and baby faced soldiers. Israeli TV cameras are running and a pretty interviewer is doing her best to look interested in this peace vigil a few days after a Jewish extremist had firebombed a Palestinian home, killing the family inside.
I’m here out of curiosity accompanying a friend who has connections on all sides of this conflict. She had always talked fondly of a rabbi called Eliyahu McLean and thought we would get on fabulously. At the end of the event, which the Rabbi had help lead, we were introduced. What followed could be best described as awkward conversation mingled with silence. But as I was about to make my excuses to leave, the Rabbi exclaimed “Pounamu” This is not a Hebrew word, but Maori for greenstone, a piece of which I had hanging around my neck. He had spent considerable time in my homeland and now we had found a connection, the conversation was flowing. If it hadn’t been for my waiting taxi we probably could have talked all night.
The next morning in my Bethlehem hotel, the previous nights events were still fresh in my mind. Something important had happened at that dusty intersection and I felt it was in someway symbolic of how a solution could be found not only in this hotly contested land, but in conflicts both personal and international the world over.
I had been wearing a t-shirt with my freshly designed Holy Land flag, and had many conversations about it. I always referred to the shared leaf at the top of the design and realised what had happened the night before was exactly what this symbol was encouraging. A check of a thesaurus later around the word connection and NEXUS was born. By days end it was graffitied on a Bethlehem street.
This painting is a further exploration of this idea. In a way it’s my manifesto of what NEXUS stands for. I hope you too can seek to find the connection.