A damaged work by artist Ziva Jelin, who was born, raised and still lives on Kibbutz Be’eri, was rescued from her studio and hung in the Israeli Art gallery of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
“Curving Road” is one of Jelin’s familiar works, a large-scale, realistic painting of the kibbutz landscape, saturated in red, like many of her works.
“Red is pure feeling,” writes Jelin of her works. “Combined with my childhood landscapes and the figures I paint, it takes on deep meaning, signifying connection and belonging to the place where I live.”
On October 7, terrorists heavily targeted the kibbutz, killing over 100 people and abducting dozens of others to Gaza, among the total of 1,200 killed and 240 abducted across the communities near the border. They set fire to homes, suffocating and burning the people inside. The kibbutz gallery, run by Jelin, also went up in flames.
But “Curving Road” was in the artist’s studio, located near the edge of the residential neighborhood attacked by Hamas. It was slightly damaged by shrapnel from a hand grenade that exploded in the studio.
It’s possible to see the damage up close, said a museum official, but there were other works in the studio that were more significantly damaged.
Jelin’s works were driven to Tel Aviv, to the office of a friend who is sheltering them for the time being, she wrote on Instagram.
“When they came to evacuate,” she wrote, “it turned out that the windows in the building were smashed following the battles that took place there, and that the bullets penetrated inside and pierced the paintings, the paintings of the place. The holes in the paintings became a chilling testimony to the battles over the house.”
Jelin wrote on Instagram that she has woken up in the days after October 7 trying to remember where she is, and it takes several minutes to place herself.
“Home lives inside me but it is not found, and the recurring question of where I am does not let go. And I understand that my home, the safe and loved and familiar place is in Be’eri. For many years, I have been painting Be’eri’s cypresses, the fields, the sidewalks and paths, the houses and the trees. I can’t stomach that this house that lives inside me has been destroyed, burned, looted. That the dear people who lived by my side so many of them are gone.”