The Ties That Bind

Oil on Canvas Board, 14”x11

From the series "Close to Home" from A Sanctified Art.

Scripture reference: Colossians 3:12-17

Sindyanna of Galilee is an all-woman non-profit of Arab and Jewish Israeli women that supports educational opportunities for Arab women “by selling Arab producers’ olive oil and other premium products in the international marketplace according to Fair Trade principles”. A visit to their facility gives you an opportunity to shop from their award-winning olive oils and myriad products made in-house. They also offer classes in basket weaving and za’atar making. When I visited them, I was struck by the palpable love and unshakable commitment to peace and cooperation between the women who work, teach, and learn there.  It’s a vision of Israel Palestine people rarely get to see.

If you can’t visit the co-op in person, you can browse the extensive photo gallery on their website. I was stopped in my tracks by one photo of a Palestinian Arab woman and a Jewish Israeli woman weaving something together. The reeds are unruly and going in every direction, but the women hold them masterfully in their hands -- together. It’s almost difficult to decipher which hands belong to which woman. It’s as if they all belong to them both. I wanted to capture this literal act of love binding “everything together in perfect harmony.”

As with the previous pieces, I’m opting for a depiction that’s not a replica of the reference photo, but still captures its spirit. Each woman is dressed in colors that call back to the flags of their respective people. Can you find the key? If you look closely, it can be found among the reeds they will fashion into something useful and beautiful. In this way, the women of Sindyanna of Galilee show us all how to find home with others and reclaim what was lost.