The Olive Trees of Sigalit Landau

by Delphine de Causans

Sigalit Landau is an Israeli-born artist (Jerusalem, 1969) who lives and works in Tel Aviv. One can say that her work is exactly the same as the one of a bridge maker. Through her works she’s trying to link up the past to the future, the West to the East, the private with the collective. Her work is extremely interesting and call upon to the mythology and to some of the deepest epic reflections.

With a series of videos and photographs, she shows us hard workers harvesting olives. Biblical references are obvious: one thinks of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, a huge cemetery where all the people that have been buried in that place will be the first for the resurrection. However there is a second reading. Workers are Palestinians. Palestinians workers are working on Israeli lands. The tone is set. It’s difficult to pay attention to the intensity of her work if we only look at the pictures. the sizes of the videos are huge, monumentales and they reprensent the collect of olives. At the first sight, it seems to be a very calm and peaceful day and suddently the machines are setting off. All the serenity of the scene is gone. We think about the duality between Israelis and Paslestinians. The small farmers, who used to get in the harvest hardly and with their own hands, are suddenly stumped by the arrival of those new machines. The first rom is though : the duality between Israelis ans Palestinians ; the calm of a harvest and the harsh sound of the machines, the sunlight that one can see through the branchs and the sound of the olives falling down from the trees…

Through these art pieces she pays tribute to the Neguev, a desert region in the South of Israel. She sets up herself as a political activist, militating against wars and hatred between Palestinians and Israelis.