Lucas’s Interview with artist Dor Guez

In April 2013, my 10-year old son interviewed the Jaffa-based artist Dor Guez for his school newspaper (which he came up with himself!!!) but I recently reread the text and think that it is good enough to merit a wider readership.  Dor Guez took part in my video program, This and That: Complexities of Israeli Identity in March 2013 and his work deals with the fate of the Christian-Palestinian minority in the Middle East, but more specifically his family’s fate in Lod pre- and post-1948.  His work has a universal appeal  –  even 10-year olds can be moved by it.  And that is one of the most important characteristics of extraordinary artists – they are able to make work that is accessible to all and yet maintains an inherent weight and meaning and relevance.

Dor Guez

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1. Why did you choose to make video art?

My work deals with the history of my region, and my videos are based on interviews and text in order to pass this information on.  I also believe that the medium an artist chooses relates to his temper- and i like to see what i do as fast as possible.

2. What do you think is hard with making video art?

The un-known.  You never know what exactly will happen when you start shooting. It is also a part of the excitement.

3. Do you have anybody to make the videos with you?

No. I do them all by myself. It’s a one man journey with the person i film. It is based on intimacy between us.

4. Do you like showing your video art to all religions?

Yes. It is about one community – the  Christian-Palestinian minority in the Middle East, but the questions my videos provoke are relevant to all of us. It’s basically about our own self identity and culture.

5. What do other religions say about your work?

Usually after a screening people come to me and share their family stories, which is very moving.

6.  How is your life in Israel, do you feel comfortable or not?

My family has lived on this land for centuries.  We feel comfortable living in our city- Lydd, regardless to the official government. Like any other citizens, we have criticism about the country, and we take it as our civil right to criticise its policies.

7. Tell me about the Christian- Palestinians in lod!

We are basically here from the 4th century, when the church of St. George was build around his grave in the center of the old town. Lydd (now known as Lod), was an arab city for centuries, and we were always a minority among the Muslims.  Today, we are a minority within a minority, as the majority of the population since 1948 war is Jewish.

8. Why are your pictures so dramatic?

They relate to dramatic events- the Israeli occupation and  some of them to a “dramatic” Christian eastern iconography- the colors and atmosphere of our churches.

9. What do you want to tell the people with your art?

I’m a story teller. I just want them to listen, see and maybe- feel something about these issues.

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