The artist’s reflection on the tribulations of Israeli contemporary society are expanded in this work to tell the larger story of worldwide destitution through references to international historical and art-historical imagery. In the case of Hagar, the portrait plainly echoes the iconic image of the American Great Depression, Dorothea Lange’s photograph Migrant Mother. Hagar, posed like Lange’s Mother, looking into the distance, hand raised to a worried face, holds the burden of motherhood on her slouched shoulders. The biblical Hagar, cast out into the wilderness; Nes’ Hagar, cast out from society, begging in a dilapidated stairwell: both stories of despair and uncertainty.
In David and Jonathan, Nes has returned to a theme that is fundamental in his previous work, the homosexual relationship, here perhaps more tender and protective than in the images from Soldiers and Boys. “Rather than the heroism of David in his defeat of Goliath, Nes chose to represent David with Jonathan – the beautiful youths whose relationship has figured in art and literature as a homoerotic trope… The young man playing the red-haired David looks directly yet cautiously into the camera, while sheltering the younger boy, Jonathan, who leans into him for support. The pose alludes to the way in which David held his harp, so that he appears to be plucking or playing Jonathan, releasing a silent yet soothing music.” (Susan Chevlowe, Adi Nes’s Biblical Stories, 2007, p.122-123).
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