Nomi Drory

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Banff Tel Aviv


Themes of memory, immigration, colonialism, and tourism collide and intertwine in Banff/Tel-Aviv.

The work originally began as a 30” x 60” oil on canvas. In it, I juxtaposed Israeli and Palestinian architectural elements, from neighbourhoods of Tel-Aviv (including Jaffa), the city in which I lived from my later childhood into young adulthood. On one side of the canvas, the viewer sees a minaret, on the other side, a 1930's bauhaus-style building. Before the building stands the figure of a woman, whose identity is uncertain. And, in the centre of the canvas, spanning the distance between the two worlds, visible, but just barely perceptible, is the "Separation Wall".

Several months after I painted this work, I travelled from Toronto, the Canadian city to which I had immigrated from Israel, out west to visit Banff, Alberta. While there, I indulged in a stereotypical tourist activity: I took a ride on a horse-drawn carriage along the Bow River. I decided to video the passing landscape -- the iconic turquoise river water and tall stately evergreens. As if on cue, four canoeists paddled by me. As I videoed, I could hear the clopping of the horses' hoofs -- a fanciful detail that I found evocative of the European colonial era in North America.

When I got back to Toronto after visiting Banff, I had the inspiration to project my video of the Western Canadian landscape onto my painting of Tel-Aviv Jaffa, thus adding another layer of meaning to the original work, and allowing me to compare and contrast multiple physical and interior landscapes: urban and rural, and eastern and western.