The Monayer Family: Three Videos by Dor Guez

In three documentary portraits, artist Dor Guez offers perspectives from different generations of his Christian Arab family in Israel.

Art Exhibition previously on at The Jewish Museum in United States.
From Sunday 14 March 2010 to Tuesday 07 September 2010
Launch Monday 07 June 2010, Artist Talk: 1 pm

Published by anonymous on Wednesday 14 April 2010.
Contact the publisher.

Family members depicted in the videos include: Jacob, the family patriarch who recounts the 1948 expulsion of Arab citizens of the city of Lod after Israeli independence; his son Sami, who describes growing up among Jews as an Israeli citizen while simultaneously claiming a Palestinian identity; and Sami’s daughter Samira, who recounts her experiences of prejudice as she is mistaken for being Jewish. Counted among 125,000 Christian Arabs in Israel, the Monayers consider themselves a minority within a minority.

Dor Guez will present a special gallery talk at The Jewish Museum on Monday, June 7 at 1 pm. This artist’s gallery talk is free with Museum admission. Reservations are not required.

The title of the first video, July 13 (2008-09, 13 min., 18 sec.), refers to the date in 1948 when the Israeli army entered the city of Lod. Jacob Monayer describes the city’s occupation, the plundering of possessions and homes, and the establishment of the Lod ghetto for those who remained. The video includes footage of Jacob posing at St. George’s Church, where many Christian Arabs hid during the war in 1948, and of the artist dutifully decorating his grandparents’ Christmas tree.

The title of Subaru-Mercedes (2008-09, 8 min., 10 sec.) serves as a metaphor for Arab Christian identity, a hybrid of Arab/Eastern (Subaru) and Israeli/Western (Mercedes) cultures. While Sami Monayer attempts to articulate his multiple nationalities, his wife and children interject their opinions and interrupt his narrative from off screen. Like Sami’s sense of self, the scene is chaotic and contradictory.

In (Sa)Mira (2008-09, 13 min. 40 sec.), Guez’s cousin recalls an incident at a Jerusalem restaurant where she works part-time while pursuing a degree in psychology at Hebrew University. Samira, who possesses a European appearance and flawlessly accented Hebrew, received complaints from Jewish customers who were offended that she did not reveal that she is an Arab. Her manager asked her to refrain from signing her checks with her given name. Filmed in multiple takes, the repetition of Samira’s narrative ultimately leads her to confront racism in Israeli society.

Dor Guez is an interdisciplinary artist and curator, and a researcher of photography at Tel Aviv University. His artistic practice is centered on questions of multiculturalism and ethnic identity. Guez’s work explores an intricate, multifaceted reality, challenging the boundaries and binary oppositions between East and West, Jews and Arabs, religion and secularism, Israeliness and Palestinianism. As a curator, he organized the exhibitions Forbidden Junctions and Back to the Canon: Claude Cahun’s Portrait Photographs at the Israeli Center for Digital Art, Holon. Recently, his work was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana and the XIV Biennial of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean held in Macedonia. Georgiopolis at the Petach Tikva Museum of Art was his first museum solo show.