This body of work is a reflection of my personal background, and was influenced by a trip I took in the summer of 2013. The landscapes are composited from the two countries that comprise my inherited, and experienced, identity: Israel and Canada. I had been waiting for the opportunity to fly back to Israel, to where I grew up, for twelve and a half years.
As a child, relocation was frequent. I moved to Israel from Estonia when I was 2 years old, living initially in a small Kibbutz and, later, in a Moshav with my older brother and my mother. I was generally a happy kid, I had lots of friends, I was studious, and my love for art was nurtured. This backdrop shifted, however, when we moved to Canada when I was 11. As a kid, I remember thinking that moving to North America would be a terrific experience, that I would change for the better and make something of myself in that “promised land”. The transition was trying for an adolescent.
Coming to Toronto, I had to adjust to the language, the city, and the people. Making friends was daunting for a foreign kid in elementary school, not finding my classmates, or the weather, as friendly as before. For a long time, I was extremely unhappy, and it took me about four years to really digest that I’d be staying in Canada for a while. It wasn’t until we moved again, from mid-town to the suburbs at age 14 that I started feeling better about my situation. Things began to settle incrementally, and eventually the craving to go back wore off.
Visiting Israel at 24 was a very emotional, personal experience. When I landed, just the smell of the air felt overwhelmingly familiar, and hearing the language felt like home. I spent a month traveling the country, including the two small places where I was raised, capped by a few week staying in Tel Aviv. Social interactions made me realize this place I called home was not as familiar as I romanticized. I speak Hebrew fluently, yet people knew instantly that I didn’t live in Israel anymore. My mannerisms were more Canadian than Israeli, and I was slow to grasp social cues. In Israel I was Canadian, and in Canada I was Israeli. Journeying back to Toronto, I realized both, and neither, are home to me.
This project is the processing of my story. The landscapes fuse Canada and Israel; the bottom half, the terrain, was photographed in the deserts of Israel, and the skies were taken in Canada. They are digitally manipulated to appear otherworldly, like a different planet, representing a place I am estranged from. In them I see a familiarity, a place that is so beautiful, that has recognizable features, but somewhere I feel alien.