Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

Fishing

Critical View: Shai Azoulay—headlining a show with sculptor Reuven Israel at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art—sets a white donkey adrift in a desert sea

Print Email
A detail from Fishing, 2009, by Shai Azoulay (Shai Azoulay)
Related Content

Legacies

Agenda: The Dead Sea Scrolls in Times Square, Legado screens in Chicago, Arab-Israeli culture in London, Joan Rivers in Fort Worth, and more

Someone is fishing for a white donkey in the middle of the desert. Or maybe we are watching a white donkey drowning. If the fisherman comes back soon he might still be able to catch it. Or save it. But there is no fisherman in sight, no footsteps, nothing but the yellow sand and the bright, merciless, blue sky.

When painter Shai Azoulay was a little kid in Arad, a city in the Israeli desert, a sailor uncle came to visit and brought him a fishing rod. Surrounded by nothing but dunes of sand, Azoulay had to wait until he found a good use for the odd present. The White Donkey, an icon for anticipation of redemption, seems to be here a detached symbol of the waiting, the expectation, without the thing itself. Waiting for a change, waiting for salvation, waiting for the Messiah, waiting for Godot. This earthy animal, still sometimes used in Israel as a means of transportation, is waiting for someone to save it. For someone to save us.

Looking at the painting one cannot avoid thinking about the similarity between the Hebrew word for “donkey,” chamor, and the word for “matter,” chomer. Somewhere between the material and the spiritual, between the day-to-day longing and the holy expectation, is our donkey, somewhat caught, somewhat drowning. Or maybe he is just taking a quick wash, cleaning himself from the yellow desert dust and getting all white, clean, and pure, preparing for someone, anyone, to come and ride his back all the way to Jerusalem.

Fishing, 2009, is part of Superpartners: Shai Azoulay and Reuven Israel, on view at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art through Dec. 21, 2011.

Print Email

very good publish, i certainly love this web site, keep on it. Moncler giubbotti Women’s Down Jackets Pink

2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Fishing

Critical View: Shai Azoulay—headlining a show with sculptor Reuven Israel at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art—sets a white donkey adrift in a desert sea

More on Tablet:

Losing Facebook Friends Over the War in Gaza

By Karen Lehrman Bloch — I tried to stay out of the fray, but I finally had to go public with my opinions about Israel, even if it meant my friends disagreed