Addam Yekutieli, also known as Know Hope, presents “It Took Me Till Now To Find You,” an endeavor that delves into the intricate political reality by narrating an ongoing historical saga.
Over the past few months, I have been gathering letters penned by both Palestinians and Israelis, with the objective of exploring concepts of belonging, homeland, and longing.
These letters come from diverse backgrounds, encompassing individuals with varying perspectives—left-wing, right-wing, settlers, military objectors, religious, and secular. Each letter is directed to its chosen recipient, at times open-ended and other times specifically addressed. They are handwritten on paper, reflecting an intimate and personal tone. One letter, for instance, was written by a bereaved Israeli parent addressing the parents of the person who killed her son David during his mandatory military service. Another was written by a Palestinian mother expressing her hopes for a better future for her daughter, free from the limitations she herself faced growing up. Most of the letters withhold details about the authors and recipients, leaving the interpretation of the narrative open to the reader. Throughout the gallery space, replicas of the Segregation Wall standing between Israel and Palestine are displayed. These scaled-down replicas, with tree roots extending from the base, symbolize the upheaval from their original context and location.
Phrases from the letters have been extracted and scratched onto the gallery wall, hastily scrawled to convey a sense of urgency and presence, sometimes crossing over to the other side of the wall.
By removing these texts from their original context, the true authorship remains ambiguous, allowing for a universal interpretation and broader participation in the political discourse.
The project aims to perceive these issues as an emotional mechanism intertwined with broader political realities, transcending traditional discourse and offering an observation on the complexities of living in this conflict.
Addam Yekutieli’s exhibition, “It Took Me Till Now to Find You,” was showcased at Gordon Gallery, Tel Aviv, from January 16, 2020, to February 15, 2020, as a revitalization of the project first introduced at London’s Lazarides in April 2017. The main installation featured scaled-down replicas of the Israeli West Bank wall with roots sprouting from the base, accompanied by hand-carved quotes from both Palestinians and Israelis. The exhibit included boxes containing original handwritten letters, the tool used to scratch the text into the wall, and bottles of dust collected from the etchings, creating a visceral and powerful experience for visitors.
Gordon Gallery facilitated the exhibition in Tel Aviv, providing proximity and a deeper perspective to Yekutieli’s emotive project. The artist intended for the project to be inclusive, representing diverse backgrounds from both societies involved in the conflict, offering a nuanced look at the people living within this complex reality.
The reception of the exhibition was overall positive, with viewers connecting to the concept and content. The artist’s goal was to encourage empathetic understanding and portrayal of the political reality and historical narratives that shape the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In the aftermath of the exhibition, Yekutieli continues his artistic endeavors with a new project titled “A Human Atlas,” focusing on scars and borders and drawing analogies between the two. This project involves documenting scars and collecting testimonials from Israelis and Palestinians, with the intention of creating reformed maps of the region based on these scars, culminating in a book.
The artist looks back on the entire process as a deeply meaningful and fascinating experience, with powerful stories shared by participants, including a letter from a Holocaust survivor to her long-lost childhood friend, poignantly expressing the reconnection of two friends separated by circumstances beyond their control, much like the elusive hope for reconciliation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Through art, Yekutieli believes in the possibility of reimagining what seems like an impossible reality.