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Gilad Efrat

Ansaar Camp, Israel, 2002

Etching 47x106cm

Courtesy of the artist and the Jerusalem Print Workshop, Jerusalem

The strict geometrical composition divides the piece length and breadth with vertical and diagonal lines suggesting the empty and apparently desolate holding cells. The leaning shadow of a rifle in a dark corner, lies abandoned and orphaned at the centre of the work.

“Camp Ansar” is based on a journalistic photograph which was never published. The camp which was founded at Keziot in the Negev desert in 1988 is one of the three largest holding facilities for detainees and prisoners. It has imprisoned thousands of Palestinian prisoners from among the activists of the first Intifada: curfew breakers, stone throwers, administrative detainees and others. In 1995 most of the military installations were emptied of Palestinian prisoners but in the wake of military operations and mass arrests in March-April 2002 (Operation “Defensive Shield”), the camp was re-opened. Referrals to the non-profit organisation “Doctors for Human Rights” indicate that detainees are subjected to violence in the course of arrest, their homes are broken into, their property vandalized and both they and members of their families suffer threats and humiliation.

Does the apparent calm of the piece indeed reflect reality, or does it contain the gathering threat before and after a storm?