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Two person show with Gaston Zvi Ickowicz, Almacen gallery in Jaffa, Israel, 2023

Mistress of the Desert is a joint exhibition of the artists Anna Perach (b. 1985, lives and works in London) and Gaston Zvi Ickowicz (b. 1974, lives and works in Jerusalem). The concept for the exhibition emerged from the rock petroglyphs that are found in Har Hanegev, Har Mihya, Jebel Irqab Isdud, and Ramat Matred. The petroglyphs are paintings that were engraved in limestone over thousands of years and depict images of animals, hunters and ambiguous ceremonies that date back to the Nabataean period, the Roman period, and Early Bedouin phase. The identity of the engravers is unknown, as is their reasons for creating them.


In the exhibition, Anna Perach shows two new wearable sculptures that will be activated during a performance accompanied by live sound, along with a series of three watercolours on paper. The sculptures in Mistress of the Desert – The Wandering Pelvis, and Warrior –have clear references to femininity and maternity, and indicate a ritualistic order performed by a female tribe. The performance touches on the dynamics between the personal and the mythological and reenacts an ancient ceremonial rite. Along with the sculptures are three watercolours, which recount the journey of three women through immigration or flight. The journey begins with the birth of one of them, continues with them hiding in a swamp in the heart of a forest, and ends with their arrival in the Negev where they meet the local residents (fighters?). The fantastical journey Perach creates seeks to complete the missing information about the identity of the rock engravers, while creating an invented mythology of a wandering female tribe that documented its story on the rocks.


Text courtesy of Almacen gallery and Fireflies project.

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