In Israel and Palestine, by religious and secular communities alike, death in war/fight is glorified. On both sides of the wall a culture of immortalization emerged: with ceremonies, songs, images and stories for those who fought and fell for their land. This glorification is used as an ongoing tool for recruiting new heroes. Also, as we praise our own heroes, we often fear and demonize the heroes of the opposite side.
In Israel there is a memorial day for the dead soldiers. This is a special day that has a sacred aura for all layers of the Jewish society - a whole day of morbid ceremonies, music and films in all the channels of the radio and TV including a "minute of silence" - when everybody stops - at work, in class, on the road, and stands still in the memory of the dead, while an alarm is heard all over the country. This day is held one week after another sacred day - 'The Holocaust Day', and one day before the 'Independence Day' - in that way a very effective emotional manipulation is taking place, as ideas of victimhood, death, heroism and war are strongly intertwined with concepts of national identity. At the same time, the idea of "Shahid"- a martyr in Arabic is thought of in the Israeli society as a crazy fanatic phenomenon. The victimhood, sacrifice and heroism of the other side cannot be comprehended.
In my memorial project I try to break that spell. In my paintings, I assemble the fallen of both factions and remove any evidence of their heritage so that their similarities become striking. All of them are just young man, beautiful and full of potential who died too early for a communal cause. By portraying them in the same way I unify them as victims of the same mechanisms and have their made-up glory give way for true grief.