STORIES WE TELL OURSELVES A collaborative installation with Chama Mechtaly

Mixed Media Installation (Weaving, Cut Paper, Calligraphy, Painting), 2021

Two women, both with roots in the Middle East and transplanted to new countries, now find themselves back in the region yet still far from home. This served as the starting point for the installation "Stories We Tell Ourselves", exhibited at Studio of Her Own Gallery as part of the 2021 Jerusalem Biennale.

 

The joint work by Mechtaly and Mizrachi-Cohen was composed of a web of red and black thread coming out of the room’s walls and cupboards, crisscrossing the ceiling to encompass the entire space of Mizrachi's studio. These threads of connectivity formed a matrix which both artists used to tell their stories through their artwork. This sharing of personal information within a confined space raises questions about the details we choose to reveal to or hide from others, especially in the context of migrating from place to place.

 

Mechtaly’s use of braided red thread references traditional Amazigh womens' craft in Morocco, which together with her white paintings explore notions of women carrying each other through life cycle moments, both the good and bad. Her video work Beresheet toggles between her creating these braids with her mother and then leaving her behind in Morocco.

 

Lenore's chandelier of opposite word pairs, scripted in Hebrew, Arabic and English, highlights the nature of life: often the positives can't be had without the negatives. They are inseparable elements of the same experience. Written on hundreds of individual papers, sewn together and then suspended from the matrix by thin black and white threads, these word pairs invite viewers to enter the space and be surrounded by them, at once experiencing the artist's perspective while making it their own. Additionally, Lenore created works using photographed doorways of her previous homes overlaid with calligraphy of memories from those times and places. Further works in progress were left on display in the studio in order to give a full picture of the artist’s thoughts and life, seemingly laying all bare yet without becoming too personal or revealing.

By using collage, embroidery, calligraphy and painting, Lenore and Chama created an immersive experience in a confined personal space - the studio - which was transformed into a "living museum", telling their story through their artwork while raising universal questions about history, identity, self-view, and the masks we wear for others.