Sharon Rashbam Prop

054-4341444 |

Turn your head to the Wall

Sharon Rashbam Prop

The work is comprised of 25 poplar tree boards on which images related to my memories as a girl who experienced the shared sleeping arrangements in Kibbutz Givat Haim Ihud, are painted with the use of mixed technique.

There are memories, scents and sounds that remind me of things long forgotten up till this day. The sound of rolling thunder, the wind blowing in the trees, the smell of of the wet ground after the rain, the call of the barn owl, the voice of the night.

The process of recurring separation from my parents at night, the knowledge that whatever I say and however much I cry, none of these will convince them to stay with me, and the surrender to the reality in which I am called to turn my head to the wall, shut my eyes and close my mouth. The nanny who was in charge of putting the children to bed walks slowly down the hallway and sings a lullaby (down the path in the heart of the fields….a couple walks alone, her hand in his…) and then the silence. After she goes her way, I beg sleep to come and take me so that I won’t stay up alone, awake. In these works I brought images that I recall from those nights: the slippers, the iron beds, the black window above my head, the fear of the howling jackals. i tried to convey the sensations of fear, loneliness, howling winds and bad dreams, by using colors and textures.

In the work I am creating in the last few years, I try and convey the memories that accompany me from my childhood through numerous images running through my head. Many stages from my childhood come to expression in paintings that try to recapture my feelings as a girl. At the time, I created a world for myself, parallel to the reality in which I was living. Now I try to recapture that reality and not run away from it. In the beginning I dealt with the character of the child in the kibbutz as I perceived it back then. The feeling of disappearance was the strongest one of all. The feeling that you are part of a big group, identity-less (and the personal identity differentiates you from the rest of the group, which might bring upon the negative attention of the educators and nannies. The biggest fear was to be labelled “problematic”). I tried to convey that feeling through an anonymous figure, devoid of facial features and the clothing worn by all these figures- singlets and white underwear- ties them all together. Each figure has a number on their singlet- a number that each one received and accompanied us until our adulthood. That is how the workers in the laundromat knew what clothes belonged to which child. I was grey 16. From Alon class.

Later on I brought up the memory of the general dress, that same dress that hung in the kindergarten closet and belonged to all the girls. You couldn’t individualize yourself by preferring a particular color or fabric, because you didn’t have an article of clothing you chose for yourself. Everything belonged to everyone.

I try and bring forth the image of the “promise” which I understood from books I read (Little Women, Sophie’s Mischief and Countess de Segur books), and films I have seen, in which childhood is the most beautiful period in life- a carefree time without worries, full of mischief and whimsy, against my reality as a child. A totally different reality.

With time I understood that the desire to convey memories from childhood will feel more authentic if it was painted in a childlike manner. I put aside my attempt to paint realistically and focused on the symbolism of color, shadowing, expression.
"Reuven Rubin painted houses in Tel Aviv in 1932. Small, simple houses...Three sailboats at sea… They all look as if they were painted by a child. We can assume that the artist who painted them asked to represent a certain reality, filtered by the child consciousness...Rubin wanted to create a painting style that would project the experience of promise…”

"In his mythological imagery, the child is irresponsible, instinctive, authentic and yet- vulnerable and without any real power.

The artist-child does not really rebel against the authority but at most ‘breaks things and does not play’. Artists’ choice in such an explicit stance is ultimately a choice in delayed rebellion or a pre-castrated one.. Reuven Rubin wanted to forget what he learned in the old world, to create in a fresh, new and even deliberately inarticulate way.

The virginal freshness and the non-tragic childlike purity were his material for the zionist dream, the dream of re-birth…” (Yigal Tzalmona 100 Years of Israeli Art).

In an interview with him, Rafi Lavi says: “at the age of 20 my desire to be me opened up- not to be different or against, but to be whatever is right for me. To express the real me from within. Not to be attached to social conventions but to be me me me-” Lavie then expressed his desire to speak without language.

“At the foundation of the childishness, which is, therefore, a centrally important and disturbing phenomenon in the Israeli culture, is the longing for authenticity. The Israeli identity is an empty one. It is born from invalidation, invalidation of the exile and everything it has, is in fact what it doesn’t have- it is full of dreams, myths and anxieties, but it does not have real volume. The shell of this empty identity has been looking for a piece of authenticity to connect to, and it found it in death and in the child’s world” (Yigal Tzalmona 100 Years of Israeli Art).

In Yankale Rotblit’s song “Whistling in the Dark”, Arik Einstein sings:

Each and every one, sometimes, whistles in the dark
Its nice, its innocent to whistle in the dark
I too, for myself, and another one does too
Each and every one is a little bit afraid to be alone in the dark
Each and every one is a little bit lonely in the dark
Nothing really, just a little bit unquiet

It will soon pass
The light will soon be switched back on

Bad thoughts creep up in the dark
Don’t let go, they don’t leave you alone in the dark
About ghosts and spirits and scary things

It will soon pass
The light will soon be switched back on

Me too, for myself, and you as well
About ghosts and scary spirits

It will soon pass
The light will soon be switched back on
We may have been played this song during bed-time at the children’s house. Or I might have heard elsewhere and connected immediately. But it is definitely the soundtrack to my work.


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