My new exhibition CITIES OF STONE – PEOPLE OF DUST opens tomorrow, August 5th, at the Red Wall Gallery in Ottawa.

Jewish Cemetery, Mount of Olives, Jerusalem 2011

© Leslie Hossaack

CITIES OF STONE – PEOPLE OF DUST is an exhibition of my photographs opening tomorrow at the Red Wall Gallery in the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa, 168 Dalhousie Street. The vernissage takes place on August 5th from 18:00-21:00, and the show runs through to September 2nd, 2011.

After completing a series of photographic studies of Nazi architecture and the Berlin Wall, I felt compelled to travel to Israel – another charged landscape. Put simply, Berlin was my springboard to Israel, both literally and figuratively.

Loss, longing and lamentation: loss of land, loss of innocence, loss of humanity, loss of freedom, loss of life; these notions haunted me in Berlin and Israel. And underscoring all my work is the issue of inclusion and exclusion. This question is posed by every image, but it is perhaps most obvious in my photographs of walls: the Berlin Wall, the Western or Wailing Wall, the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, the walls of the ancient fortress at Masada, and the Israeli Separation Wall. All my life I have been disturbed by the duality of inclusion and exclusion.

After returning home from Israel this May, I was both intrigued and perplexed by what I had witnessed. I do not pretend to understand the horrors of the Holocaust, the long and complex histories of the Holy City, or the current politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is not my intention to suggest solutions or to find fault. However, I do hope that CITIES OF STONE – PEOPLE OF DUST will raise awareness and pose questions. The question that kept running through my mind as I explored historic Berlin and modern Israel was: at what cost?