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Shomera is a biblical term that relates to temporary structures in vineyards, orchards and fields and is used by farmers during fruit picking periods in order to guard the products against theft. Shomeras have been in use since ancient times.
My project surveys 35 shomeras in Jewish farms as well as in Palestinian villages in Israel. Elevated above tree level, the flimsy structures, made of found objects became environmental sculptures by the road side in rural agricultural areas. Although these sculptures were not designed by designers, each shomera is made in a very unique way. They are the product of the creativity and improvisation of farmers, with improvement and further improvisation added by the watchman for their warmth, comfort and protection against wind and sun.
In cases where the owners of the land are the ones who cultivate it and guard the produce, especially in Palestinian villages, the shomeras are more solid built and spacious, even containing pieces of furniture, making a temporary dwelling for the families to live in during fruit-picking periods. Shomeras at Jewish farms tend to have a military shape of towers signifying power and control of land and space.
During the seasons that the shomera are not in use, as the material disintegrates, the covering become loose and falls apart, leaving the naked skeleton exposed. All that is left in such places are the skeletal environmental sculptures, which are fragile but enduring icons, reflections of cultural patterns and practice.



One thought on “Towers

  1. Excellent project you’ve developed….Thanx for including the definition / info on “Shomera structures” —as well as ur work to put it in Socio Political perspective.
    I’m Jewish yet not Israeli so my 1st thought was that they’re similar to Sukkoh huts/booths I’ve seen since childhood during that holiday,
    and as an artist I really dig all the connections –the ecology, rights/farming issues, politics & the gr8 old-textures & feel of story.
    Keep up the gr8 work ^_^

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