Portraits of Cain: Representations of 'Others'
in Contemporary Art in Israel
The exhibition will explore how 30 Israeli artists, past and present, relate to the concept of the “mark of Cain” (stigma) and broader contexts, starting with the biblical story and its versions in the Jewish midrash, Christian and Muslim texts, to the image of Cain as a Pre-Figuration of the Wandering Jew to contemporary representations of the "marked people" for gender, religion, race, nationality, professional association and so on. The concept will be explored with regard to representations both as the aggressor and as the victim as represented in art and in the contemporary media. In addition, possibilities will be presented of what the mark/symbol/image of the "mark of Cain" looked like – since there is no literal or verbal reference in the Bible as to the mark’s visual presentation.
From the exhibit:
“The book of Genesis (chapter 4, verses 1-17) relates the life story of two brothers, the sons of Adam and Eve. The older brother, Cain, rose up and killed his younger brother, Abel. This is murder case no. 001. The mark stamped on Cain’s forehead is an ambivalent sign. On the one hand, it serves as an identifying mark of an assailant/murderer and publicly exposes his disgrace. On the other hand, it is a means of divine protection afforded to someone who might become himself an object of vengeance, justifiable as it may be. The collocation “the mark of Cain” is associated with a number of sociological and criminological terms such as “stereotype,” “stigma,” “social deviance,” “labeling,” “prejudice,” “racism,” and above all – the concept of the “Other.” The “mark of Cain” signifies banning, excommunication, objectification, repression, nullification of the branded subject by transforming him or her into a deviant and “Other.””
Portraits of Cain: Representations of 'Others': A two day interdisciplinary conference will take place on April 17th in the W.A. Minkoff Senate Hall at BGU and on April 18th in the Auditorium of the Open Museum in Omer. The conference will deal with different aspects of the subject of the exhibition. The conference will be dedicated to the memory of social psychologist Professor Dan Bar-On. The second part of the conference will relate to the exhibitions "Haim Maor: They are Me" and “Ahmad Kna’an: Sculptures" which will be displayed at the Open Museum in Omer.
Prof. Haim Maor is the curator of the exhibition in conjunction with art students at BGU. The exhibition will be on view in two university galleries and will be accompanied by a catalog and a two-day conference. The exhibition will open in late March - early April 2012 and run through June 10, 2012.
List (partial) of the artists:
Eyal Adler Kelner, Vered Aharonovitch, Gaston Zvi Itzkovitz, Micha Bar Am, Paul Goldman, Ken Goldman, Michael Druks, Khader Oshah, David Tartakover , Nurit Yarden, Erez Israeli, Vardi Kahana, Sarah Katz, Boaz Lanir, Liav Mizrachi, Motti Mizrachi, Natan Nuchi, Adi Nes, Michael Segen Cohen, Asad Azi, Miki Kratsman, Micha Kirshner, Arnon Rabin, Haya Ran-Gertz.