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Reflections on Palestine | Nyree Barrett | Timeout Dubai


March 2010


HIS MESSAGE IN A NUTSHELL: ‘Alienation is the new world syndrome.’
Steve Sabella’s images are without horizon: the abstract landscapes layer many images of one window over each other hundreds or thousands of times. It took Sabella a year to create five pieces using this process, and the result is a disorientating but visually arresting new landscape with no sky and no respite.

Sabella is a tortured artist in many ways, and says he has sometimes been ‘near fatally self-reflective. I grew up in Jerusalem feeling out of place and alienated in my own place of birth. I am in mental exile, and Jerusalem itself is in exile.’

The work was inspired by one sentence from his daughter, Cecile. ‘I married a Swiss woman and we gave birth to Cecile in my home town of Jerusalem. But Cecile did not learn my mother tongue – it was agonising because I gave birth to someone so foreign to me. But when we went to London after three years she was standing at this exact window like this [above], and she said to me and my wife, “I want to go home – I want to go back to my country.” Something happened in this moment: her state of consciousness mirrored mine, and for the first time we had a common language, the language of exile. I wanted to mirror this language.’



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