Dafna Staretz

The personal is political (as the second wave feminist slogan of the 60's stated), but I am interested in the way the political can become personal. As someone growing up in Israel, but living abroad, my political stand is something that is brought up in almost every encounter, it unwillingly becomes an essential part of my identity. It seems the further I try to escape it, it haunts me even further. In my art, as well as in life, I often wonder, where does the political ends and the personal begins?

My work circles around the notion of modern mythologies and the way our private and cultural stories construct our identities and systems of believes. the main focus is connected to the long twisted reality of my "homeland"-Israel, where stories and images from past and present are used to construct a paranoid and militant communal identity that maintain a state of war and occupation. In the battlefield of memories, the past is delivered to us as an historical fact, while in fact, it is being processed and designed in order to create a story that convey certain messages and beliefs. We often fail to see how that act of memorizing is in a way, as well, an act of interpretation, of storytelling, where some narratives has to be deleted from the memory in order for certain ideas to be emphasize. In my work I wish to create a space that enables polyphony of voices that can speak from different and seemingly contradictive perspectives at the same time.

Through painting, I wish to examine the possibilities of aesthetically evoked narratives as a way to explore the construction of our personal and communal histories. Images don't seem to me as something that only illustrates stories; I rather consider them as something that can evoke another form of narrative, one which is fragmentary and non-linear, which thus opens up to ambivalence, enables and encourages viewers to assume the role of authors, to create a multitude of stories on their own.