Tzipi Livni As Sibyl Of Cumae With Dancing Follies

Livni as Sibyl of Cumae with Dancing Follies, Gopal 2009A lot of the issues which have arisen since Obama's Egyptian speech reminded me of the prophetic silence of the 'Sibyl of Cumae' (Roman prophesies, Homeric stories, Virgil's Aeneid VI etc). It is exploring the role of prophesy in modern political life.

Lately I have been thinking about "Tzipi" Livni's 'non-presence' in the evolving public discussion around the search for peace.

The Sibyl (as metaphor) has a prophesizing role as the priestess presiding over Apollo's oracle at Cumae, a Greek colony located near Naples, Italy. She is familiar from Homer's Odyssey.  You don't always know why a metaphor like the Sibyl suddenly grips your imagination but it has. As for individual leaders, perhaps they carry our lost memories without our awareness.

When looking at a cycle of conflict, I found myself very confronted with understanding the role of oppression and aggressor, and the way that they interchange. Surviving trauma and understanding the history, while looking forward -that's a very hard challenge. The Palestinian/Israeli conflict is where we focus our individual conflicts.

So, still in the vein of the chanson de geste, the Kadima leader has ended up as an echo of the Sibyl beause of words that Obama used in his Egyptian speech this year. That's neither endorsement nor critique. I'm continuing my exploration of the underlying tensions, the underbelly of public histories, that link us all to what happens in the Middle East whether we want to or not. In an epic sense, there is a heroic element in the search for peace in the Middle East, but nobody likes all the voices in the chorus.

The dancing follies is another metaphor. In my previous painting I used the metaphor of the musical version of A Star is Born with "And Starring Benjamin Netanyahu as Norman Maine" (see my Work in Progress page). In that painting I used Judy Garland's Esther Blogett character together with  Netanyahu's Norman Maine character. Historical relationships are very much like personal relationships - countries like friends, enemies, and lovers.  


All text and images on this website are Copyright © to Carl Gopalkrishnan 2019