The Olive Tree

Rafaat Hattab's video work portrays the artist drawing water into a bucket and watering an olive tree, while fingering its leaves and caressing its trunk. The soundtrack features the song Hub (Love), by the Lebanese singer Ahmad Kaabour. This work appears to be concerned with memory, and with the olive tree as a Palestinian national symbol. As the camera draws away, however, this image is undermined by the revelation that the olive tree and the artist standing beside it are at the center of Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, and that the water comes from the pool surrounding the nearby fountain, adjacent to Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality building. The tree is indeed rooted in local earth, yet appears uprooted and foreign within its concrete surroundings, which threaten to suffocate and isolate it within the Israeli metropolis.


The olive press features a range of facilities used to produce olive oil in the land of Israel during thousands of years of agricultural activity: from the vestiges of an Iron Age olive press to a Palestinian olive press.


Photomenta features the works of some 30 photographers from Mediterranean countries. The exhibition extends throughout the museum pavilions, the Migdal Gallery and the Archaeological Garden. These different sites serve as "port cities" from which visitors can embark on a journey throughout the Mediterranean.




Rafaat Hattab (Jaffa, Israel), Untitled, video, 03:50 minutes, 2009