"Garments of Reconciliation:" The Relationship Between Judaism and Islam in the Artworks of Andi Arnovitz

David Sperber

Abstract


This article examines in depth works of Jewish-Israeli and modern-Orthodox artist Andi Arnovitz (b. US, 1959) that relate to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The article utilizes tools that arise from cultural research, in particular the critical and alternative view that feminist discourse offers with respect to the concept of multiculturalism. Thus the article makes use of concepts as the "productive look" (Silverman), the "ambivalent text" (Lotman), and "transversal politics" (Yuval-Davis) to provide a platform for understanding the works. The article examines a corpus of artworks that address the "other" in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the emotional relationship towards pull of the land. Works of this kind constitute a significant bulk of Arnovitz's oeuvre. Thus, although her work is regarded through a very specific lens, this is also an opportunity to gain insights into the artist's overall manipulation of her materials. Moreover, the works discussed here will serve as a case in point of modern-Orthodox feminist art's broader occupation with relations between Judaism and Islam and with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  This article will show how Arnovitz aims for a "productive look," with her "ambivalent gaze" enabling a fresh look and re-examination of the other, from within traditional Jewish frameworks. Arnovitz brings deep humanistic sensitivity to her examination of Jewish-Islamic relations. A thorough examination of this voice reveals a combination of a conservative world and a profound and non-conformist spirit, based on the values of pluralism and humanism.


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