October 7, 2023
Jan 25, 2024 | JMW News
Directly after the brutal attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, by the terrorist organization Hamas, the Ukrainian-Israeli artist Zoya Cherkassky-Nnadi set out to portray the terrible events in pictures. The result is a series of works that attempt through art to process the horror of this terrible attack on Jewish life.
Zoya Cherkassky-Nnadi began to paint just four days after the attack. Her works on October 7 show an “Israeli Guernica,” as the artist herself calls it—a reference to Pablo Picasso’s monumental painting depicting the horrors of the German-Italian air raid on the Spanish city of Guernica (Basque: Gernika) on April 26, 1937, during the Spanish Civil War. The bombardment, carried out by the Condor Legion, which served with General Franco’s fascist troops, did not have a military objective but was designed merely to demoralize the civilian population. One third of the inhabitants were killed or injured in the attack. Picasso wrote at the time: “It is my wish at this time to remind you that I have always believed, and still believe, that artists who live and work with spiritual values cannot and should not remain indifferent to a conflict in which the highest values of humanity and civilization are at stake.”1
Cherkassky-Nnadi was inevitably reminded of Picasso’s Guernica after the reports about the attack on the Be’eri kibbutz: “Because it’s so similar: it’s just a massacre of innocent people. And something that we didn’t believe could happen in Israel, and in such a brutal way.”2 The first work in the series shows an Israeli family – children, parents, and grandparents—with fear and horror inscribed in their faces. The picture suggests that the family is hiding from the attackers. The ceiling light is a direct reference to Guernica, emphasizing the parallels between the two motifs.