The “Whirlwind” project by Gaston Zvi Ickowicz (b. 1974) was created in a series of visits by the artist to the northern part of the “Gaza Envelope” area between March and October 2018.
That period saw the beginning of a new stage in the struggle by the residents of the Gaza Strip against the Israeli siege of the area: tens of thousands of people took part in “marches of return” and demonstrations near the fence, in which Palestinian kites and balloons carrying flammable materials were released toward the Israeli side of the fence. After preliminary tours of the area, Ickowicz began photographing lands that had been set on fire by these burning kites near the kibbutzim Or Haner and Gvar’am, and the ruins of the Palestinian villages of Simsim, Najd and Al-Mansurah.
The fire destroyed the vegetation surrounding the rubble and building ruins of the Palestinian villages, making them stand out; the scorched earth left behind by the fire gave them new visibility. A stray whirlwind of wind that suddenly passed by seemingly encapsulated the essence of the project: unexpected, at the mercy of the whims of nature and time, trying to capture the air currents and their attendant winds; a documentation of an event that is at once unfolding in real-time before the camera and eluding it; an attempt, through the image, to grasp the past and the present that co-exist at the same time.