The Nopal, Opuntia Ficus Indica, is of Mexican origin. The plant Immigrated to the Mediterranean and flourished here, reproducing itself only in a vegetative form, thus rooting parts of the plant. Its seeds cannot sprout on earth that is not original, which means that these immigrants are copies of the original Mexican plant. This thorny plant and its fruits have similar symbolism in the Mexican, Israeli and Palestinian cultures. The plant symbolizes immigration and settlement, rootedness and locality, national independence and sacrifice of human beings for the greater good: gods and land.
The Nopal is a survival plant that adapted to critical weather conditions and immigration. I choose to focus on three aspects that characterize its ability to immigrate: the thorns, the joints and the plant ability to root itself on geographical sites which don’t enable its seeds to sprout. I refer to this plant as an analogy to immigration, as a territorial symbol, a border between villages. The thorns get caught on skins of animals and on human clothes allowing the plant to immigrate from place to place. As human immigrants that cross different existing borders between countries. Borders that are not only geographical but also cultural, linguistic, economical, racial, and religious. As immigrants that in order to flourish, adopt local characteristics, while maintaining characteristics of their original country, always carrying a conflict of identity.
Dried Prickly pear, iron, silver
43 x 8.5 x 1.5 cm