1984 – <em>Mita Meshuna (the Artist’s Monogram)</em>, Igael Tumarkin
Coll IMJ, Photo (c) IMJ, by David Harris

Igael Tumarkin (1933-2021) undertook this difficult mixed-media work at the beginning of the First Lebanon War in 1982. Daily casualty announcements flooded the Israeli press; Tumarkin’s response was to fashion parts of an army stretcher into an object reminiscent of a cross, with all of its attendant associations. The inscription at the top of this Israel Museum piece is a play on words in Hebrew meaning both “strange bed” (a reference to the stretcher) and “strange death” (a concept in Jewish law referring to an extreme punishment). The words appear where Jesus’ monogram is shown in crucifixion pictures. The white and blue fabrics allude to the Israeli flag. (Image copyright Israel Museum, Jerusalem; work copyright Tumarkin’s estate, purchased by Recanati Fund for the Acquisition of Israeli Art)