The Rome Collection was comprised of 10 paintings and created from resin, pigment, glass, rock, mica powder, paint, glitter, ink and silicone.
Each cobble stone held a story, each rock, each massive boulder. Jerusalem is known as the City of Gold yet here before me was Rome, another city of gold. There were so many similarities, and the influence of Rome on Jerusalem and vice versa was apparent. The Vatican City gave me the most food for thought. The walls were filled with Jewish motifs and Hebrew text and stars of David were everywhere.
HOW ARE OUR LIVES INFLUENCED BY OTHER CULTURES?
There was so much cross over between Jewish culture and Rome that it got me thinking. How are people impacted by their history? What imprints are made that can last generations?
which city influenced the other?
AND GETTING DEEPER, HOW DO WE AS INDIVIDUALS SHAPE OTHER PEOPLE'S LIVES WITH OUR EVERY DAY ACTIONS?
I got back to London and started researching. I read excepts from Jewish books and ancient texts. I read history books notably 'Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations' by Martin Goodman.
My paintings have been influenced by the differences and similarities between the two cultures. Because the cultures of Jerusalem and Rome crash, collide and intercept throughout the centuries.
To the historians amongst us, for Rome and Jerusalem to have so many similarities is no coincidence. It all started when in 63 BCE, the Roman conqueror Pompey the Great captured Jerusalem.
The Jews and Romans lived in peace throughout influencing each other's cultures and King Herod reigned for over 30 years, further bringing Roman ideas and architecture into the region. In 70 CE, the Second Jewish Temple was destroyed and Jews were scattered between Rome and Jerusalem further spreading their religion and culture.
The Jewish historian Josephus records the conqueror Titus's parade through Rome featuring Torah scrolls and sacred objects. This triumphant procession was later carved onto the Arch of Titus to commemorate. And as I stood under that Arch, gazing up at the carving, I could really feel the two cultures again; so much in common yet so much clashing.
I record the last cultural intersections for completeness. In 129 CE, Emperor Hadrian planted a Roman city, Aelia Capitolina, on the site of Jerusalem's old city. The remaining Jews were none too pleased, leading to the Bar Kohba Revolt which definitively banished the Jewish population from the city. Under the Crusaders, again Christian influence was injected into the city and "The Kingdom of Jerusalem" lasted from 1099 to 1187.
I hope that you, my Collectors will look at these pieces and feel the challenge, the questions, the conflict and the unity that came from painting this collection. I hope by having these paintings on your wall that you will gain inspiration and feel empowered to create beautiful futures for yourselves. Who are we and where do we come from? Let's discover and walk this journey together.