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Day 64 Of the War: Art After October 7th And The Hostages

“What’s going on? By us we hear noises  of broken windows” artist Sharon Pazner
“What’s going on? By us we hear noises  of broken windows” artist Sharon Pazner

 

Yesterday morning, I attended the opening of a small yet powerful art exhibition centers on the WhatsApp messages exchanged among members of Kibbutz Kfar Aza during the brutal attack by Hamas Terrorists on October 7th. The exhibition was curated by Moshe Esh and Batia Holin, the latter being a survivor of the massacre and a member of the Kibbutz https://en.davar1.co.il/458277/. Fourteen artists participated in the exhibition, and the curators asked each  one to create a piece  based on one of the texts.

The exhibition is titled (in a free translation), “It’s time that somebody answers our messages.” On our way to the gallery, ‘Hamekarer’ (the refrigerator), my friend and I debated whether it was appropriate to create art so soon after such a calamity, and while we are still amidst trauma. I suggested that art, at this moment, could serve as documentation—an activism and a form of therapy. However, my friend wasn’t sure if this therapy should be publicly displayed.

Upon arriving at the small underground gallery, I knew my answer. The works displayed were real art: powerful, and thought provoking. One piece, crafted by Sharon Pazner a concrete artist whose work I admire, caught my attention. At first glance, it was easy to miss it, as the work was placed in the middle of the room rather than on the walls. From a distance, it looked like  a tombstone. As I moved closer, I noticed whats seemed to be a blocked, sunken window within a framework decorated by a floral pattern, Engraved inside the concrete window was the text chosen for the WhatsApp correspondence: “What’s going on? By us we hear noises  of broken windows .” Below this sentence, presented in the original WhatsApp font, was the timestamp ‘8:12,’ marked with an only one gray tick indicating that the message was not delivered. I felt that this seemingly simple piece successfully captured the dread, the helplessness, and the desperation of the members of Kfar Aza who were locked in the safe rooms, it  told the whole story. Unlike the writer who did not know the source of the loud noise, we know. Tragically we also understand why nobody responded, and that the blocked window and the safe room were of little help. In a subtle, understated and even orderly manner, Pazner made it easier for me to  connect to the experience of the members of Kfar Aza on October 7th.

Following the exhibition, we went to light holiday candles in solidarity with the families of the hostages in the Kidnapped Circle next to Tel Aviv museum. A sad  Hanukkah, and I fear that the worst is yet to come.

About the Author
I hold a PhD in English Literature from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, specializing in writing about issues related to women, literature, culture, and society. Having lived in the US for 15 years (between 1979-1994), I bring a diverse perspective to my work. As a widow, in March 2016, I initiated a support and growth-oriented Facebook group for widows named "Widows Move On." The group has now grown to over 2000 members, providing a valuable space for mutual support and understanding.
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