Paula Elion

Mekudeshet, Mekudeshet 2020

Textiles, bride's veil, golden and red threads


Humans can connect in different ways. Friendships, family relationships, couple's relationships, platonic love, romantic love. We all need support and love. We need to be seen and respected. For me, human electricity can be the energy and excitement we feel when we meet a friend we haven't seen for a long time, when we fall in love and experience "butterflies in our stomach", when we hug someone we love.

The present installation has multiple layers of meaning and it deals with issues related to identi-ty, tradition, origin, locality. I used my own wedding veil and textiles that belonged to "real" households - with stains and imperfections caused by daily use.– some bought in second hand markets and others provided by friends. Hanging from the ceiling is the veil, which usually covers the bride's face, and the "Chuppah" – the canopy under which a Jewish couple stands during their wedding ceremony. "Mekudeshet is a Hebrew word, used during the betrothal ceremony. When the groom slides the ring on the index finger of his bride, he recites: “By accepting this ring you become my exclusive [Mekudeshet] spouse according to the religion [or customs] of Moses and Israel.” The word „kadosh“ (holy) is derived from the same root, and so this blessing literally means: you are exclusively mine, holy and separated unto me. On my veil I embroidered red cacti with the same golden thread I used in the canopy. Red can symbolize passion - but it is also the color of blood. The cactus – "sabra" in Spanish, my mother tongue, צבר ("tzabar") in Hebrew and "sa-br" in Arabic – is a plant originally from Mexico, very important in both Israeli and Palestinian cultures. "Sa-br" in Arabic means patience. While the cactus is symbol of resilience and patience for the Palestinians, for many years it has also been symbol of the typical Israeli - spiky outside and sweet inside. Stereotypes, symbols, ceremonies that reflect how humans are hardwired for connection.

Artist bio:

Paula Elion is an Argentinean-Israeli artist based in Stockholm, Sweden, graduated from the Mid-rasha School of Art, Beit Berl, Israel. She has participated in two residencies for artists in Berlin (2017/2019) and shown her work in Stockholm, Berlin, TLV, Mexico, Serbia, Norway.
She explores the mediums of painting and drawing, while using old books, found objects, textiles, cardboard, and more. Her work deals with a wide range of topics that connect personal and socio-political aspects. It is often inspired by images from social media, pop culture, her own family al-bums, exploring universal conflicts and questions. Recipient of the Israel Ministry of Culture 2019 prize for independent artists.