Viaticum [a self portait]
The photograph depicts the artist, born in London to Bulgarian and Iraqi parents who immigrated to Israel. The artist is lying on artificial turf - a twice estrangement: from nature and from the native landscape of the Middle East. Inflicted on the landscape by British colonial forces, turf has been adopted excessively by the Zionist movement in the transformation of the local landscape especially in Kibbutzim and later on in the illegal settlements in the West Bank and Gaza.
The artist’s eyes are covered by medals, produced by Israel Coins and Medals Corp commemorating the 100 years of the Balfour Declaration.
The coins on the eyes are reminiscent of an ancient burial tradition named Charnon’s obol in which coins are placed in or on the mouth of a dead person, or in some traditions on their eyes, before burial. Greek and Latin literary sources specify the coin as an obol and explain it as a payment or bribe for Charon, the ferryman who conveys souls across the river that divides the world of the living from the world of the dead.
In Latin, Charon's obol is sometimes called a viaticum, or "sustenance for the journey"; the placement of the coin on the mouth has also been explained as a seal to protect the deceased's soul or to prevent it from returning.