Daughters of Jerusalem

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Motorcycle Cultures 2 (International Journal of Motorcycle Studies Conference Exhibition), Triangle Space, London, 2016 
Stations of the Cross, St Stephen Walbrook, London, 2017
Stations 2020, Arts Chaplaincy Projects, 2020

Laura Moffatt, ‘Stations of the Cross and Resurrection’, Art & Christianity, No 90, Summer 2017
Muriel Zagha, ‘From Psycho to Transcendence’, Elephant, 2017
Stations of the Cross | Stations of the Resurrection, Stations 2017, catalogue, ISBN 978-1-5272-0874-2s 

from the series Stations of the Cross

© acknowledgements:
Karov La Bayit aka Close To Home (2005) 
Lovely Rita (The Beatles) 

Commentary by Lucy Newman Cleeve for Stations 2020

The Eighth Station: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

This work appropriates footage from the closing sequence of the Israeli film Karov La Bayit (Close To Home) (2005) directed by Vardit Bilu and Dalia Hager. The film focuses on two 18-year-old Israeli girls who are thrown together as they are assigned to a patrol in Jerusalem as part of their compulsory military service. Their job is to stop Palestinian passers-by, to ask for their identity cards, and to write down their details on special forms. The sampled clip follows an altercation that has gone wrong, resulting in a Palestinian man being beaten up and possibly killed. The women are shown riding two-up on a motorbike, with the camera cropped in close on their faces and the footage slowed down. The speed of the original footage is apparent from the blurred landscape moving behind them creating the impression of still figures locked in a bewildering and disorienting world. The women’s faces look, in the same instant, guilty, defiant and numb as they start to realise they have become witnesses to a murder.

The image is in dialogue with the soundtrack — a remixed sample of ‘Lovely Rita’ by the Beatles in which the words “Lovely Rita meter maid” are repeated over and over again. The original lyric continues “In her cap she looked much older, and a bag across her shoulder, made her look like a little like a military man”, although the song may also be understood here as a reference to St Rita, also featured in the 13th Station.

The compassionate view of the two young women is complicated by their status as border guards in a contested territory —  bringing to mind the borders that have been locked in response to the pandemic, and the possible future introduction of immunity passports. Historically, the ‘daughters of Jerusalem’ may be identified with a sorority of women who offered narcotic drinks to condemned men as an act of charity to ease the pain of their deaths. It was this ‘wine mixed with myrrh (or gall)’ that Jesus refused to drink on his way to be crucified.