In this video work, Murjan Abo Deba stands alone on the seashore. Wearing traditional clothes, the artist holds a floor squeegee, which she uses to repeatedly sweep away the waves, in a futile effort to return them to the sea. This poetic, minimalist work captures a great drama: that of being a woman artist in Israel’s religious Arab society.
The sweeping of the water calls to mind domestic chores, alluding to the traditional female role. Yet by positioning herself outside the closed domestic sphere, facing the wide-open sea, and by transforming the act of cleaning into a video work, she speaks of a female identity that shatters existing boundaries. The back-and-forth movement of the waves, and Abo Deba’s location on the shoreline, express her vacillation between the two worlds – those of tradition and art – an endless movement that involves neither choice nor closure. This work, which is part of the exhibition chapter “Must. Need,” touches upon the conflict between what a woman must do according to the dictates of society, and what she must do according to the dictates of her own heart.