The Box of Documents |കടലാസുപ്പെട്ടി is a project created by Meydad Eliyahu and curated by Tanya Abraham, Kashi Gallery in collaboration with the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi, India 2016.
The project is a community based one that showcases artists' roles as 'Public Intellectuals' and was assembled during two weeks of residency and it's results were shown during the three months of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.
As a culmination of an obsessive artistic research after the heritage of Israeli-Cochinni Jews, this long process of research was full of personal and communal contexts. These contexts come from Meydad Eliyahu's background and identity as an Israeli artist of Cochini-Jewish descent.
The project combined different artistic actions: traditional practices in painting, drawing and printmaking practices, documentation and historical cultural research and community social engagement. All connected to the almost disappeared cultural expressions of the Jews of Kerala. In many ways the Archive installation served as a catalyzer for dialogue between the two communities in Kochi and in Israel, created a new collage of personal, unique contemporary images and texts that form the archive as a living, perpetual creation.
“The big silence in my father’s family about life in Kochi led me to an obsessive research for this missing chapter in history. Born and raised in Mesilat Zion, a village near by Jerusalem of Kerala Jews community, I felt that even though some aspects of this community heritage were kept, many things vanished in traumatic circumstances. Coming back to Kochi, with a suitcase full of documents and artifacts, all related to the Jewish presence in Kerala, is both symbolic and deliberate. The installation space and workshops that it will be installed in is an effort of the reconstruction of this vanished presence and rare cultural dialogue after many years. The project combines different aspects of my artistic development and process. It’s my own artistic practice in painting, drawing and printmaking, the cultural and social research of my own community, and my experience in art education that becomes one whole art-work for the very first time. The final outcome of the project is yet to be determined, since it involves both the Kochi community and the Jewish-Kerala community in Israel; their expression and art works, and texts will hopefully function as a new layer in the elaborate tapestry that forms the project as a living, breathing, perpetual creation.”