I was visiting Jerusalem for the first time a couple months ago, and of course I was overwhelmed by the fervor, the history, the chaos and the magnificence, but I wondered, how can I possibly paint all that? It was when I was wandering through the Arab market stalls and I spotted a staircase going up above to some invisible place, that I knew my artistic curiosity was going to intervene. A vendor nearby noticed my halt and encouraged me with, “You should go up. It’s beautiful up there.” There I was on the rooftops of the Arab quarter of Jerusalem, satellite dishes and wires everywhere, children playing on the roof protrusions, laundry of every color strung out to dry in the fading afternoon. Then as if this weren’t enough, just behind, in the distance, the dome of the Mount glistening in all of its splendor. This was to me an extraordinary mingling of decadence, opulence and modernity. I even liked the cable dishes. I felt fortunate, as if everything was going to be okay because I saw it. Nothing and no one could have stopped me from painting it.


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