Between 2010 and 2013, British photographer Corinne Silva travelled across 22 Israeli settlements between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River to take pictures of private and public gardens that are now published in the book Garden State. In a country that is under constant influence of a tense political climate, Silva used her practice to explore the ways in which garden spaces and the act of horticulture may represent Israel’s ongoing expansionist ambitions.
Seeing micro-landscapes as a way to allocate territory, Garden State oversees suburban areas away from Tel Aviv as an urban centre. Following the formation of the country in 1948, and a war that lead to the displacement of the Palestinian population (cutting off their communities from each other in the West Bank), Israelis created new communities within these territories. As a reflection of this expansion, Silva’s work draws a line from the coastal areas surrounding Tel Aviv, across the Green Line and into the occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank.
Following exhibitions with her photographs in London, Wales and Jordan, the FFotogallery, in cooperation with The Mosaic Rooms in London, is now publishing Garden State to reflect this political relationship between gardens and colonisation. “The book sheds new light on the situation in Palestine and the West Bank whilst avoiding the stereotypical images of conflict zone photography“, notes gallery director David Drake. Furthermore, Silva’s works can be seen as symbolic and material evidence of the continued colonisation of this conflicted territory. The artist investigates the effect of human activity on land, geographic and political borders, migration and ecology while she aims to answer questions of mobility and migration; questions that, for Silva, also concern plant life.
Corinne Silva, Garden State, hardback copy £25, published by Ffotogallery and The Mosaic Room. For more information visit www.ffotogallery.org.
1. Photographs from Corrine Silva’s Garden State. Courtesy of Ffotogallery and the artist.