Celebrating Leith and North Edinburgh Return of the Soul: The Nakbah Project
Return of the Soul
Return of the Soul II
Return of the Soul III
Return of the Soul IV

Elsewhere on Leith & North:
Edinburgh Poetry Garden
Dialogues of Wind & Bamboo
104 pairs of shoes exhibition
Leith & North: Please email any news items to: news@leithandnorth.org.uk Return of The Soul: The Nakbah Project (Edinburgh July 31st to August 18th 2008) continued Return of the Soul: The Nakbah Project (back) >>>

Close up of Jane on the scaffold platform, smiling as she holds a 31cm figure on its wire and looks at itReturn of the Soul - the Nakbah Project, is a moving artwork comprised of thousands of small wax figures creating an illussion of exodus. The artwork is truly three dimensional and evokes the flight of thousands of people down an uneven hill. To create this effect, each figure has its own place on one of the 142 rows of the grid - on the left or the right. And, as the hill is uneven, and of course, has a gradient, each figure is suspended at a different height, it's feet touching the invisible hill beneath.

Four women standing on the platform, lookind down at sixe helpers below Five people, some looking up, some wrapping figures Left <<<: Figures being handed down from the platform
Right >>>:
Trude, an unknown woman, Robyn, Mohammed and Pippa.

So, as figures were handed down to a helper, the helper had to record the height of the figure, the length of the wire, the row number of the figure, and whether it was on the left or the right. Then the figure was wrapped, labelled and handed across to be catalogued and packed, so that when it arrives in Beirut, everyone can work out where it has to go. Otherwise much of the shape, the mood and the effect of the installation would be lost. One helper spoke of how moved she was each time she wrapped a figure, describing it as "a soulful moment".

One man holding wire mesh, one man holding pliers Eight people look up with the last few figures still suspended Left <<<: Alan taking down the wire mesh (in a rare sighting without his hard hat!).
Right >>>:
The End! Left to right; Neville (still working,) Phil, Trude, Iain, Gordon, (at the back,) Jean, (in the stripes,) Pippa, and Alan.

Around twenty people completed some two months' work in two days, with patience, commitment, caffeine, Wassim's fine food from El-Daar's, the odd fish supper and remarkably few grumpy words. Music helped the team along during the unistall, and figures were lowered and packed away to the accompaniment of Moishe's Bagel, Gwen Stefani, Joni Mitchell, REM and David Bowie. Leith & North's correspondent was proud to be involved, and enjoyed the esprit de corp created by everyone's desire to show the people of Palestine that the world is mindful of them and supports them, as they suffer and struggle.

Smiling people sit round the red covered table in Wassim's Lebanese cafe , El-Daar Three women chat, surrounded by painted silk hangings portraying Chinese women Left <<<: Some of the team celebrate the finish in El-Daar's Lebanese cafe, based in Theatre Workshop
Right >>>:
Trude and Pippa chat with Cecelia Yu, the artist behind the succeeding exhibition.

As the end drew near, Jane and the team imagined the future travels of the figures (with their little passports,) as they travel on from Beirut and Amman. We hoped that they would travel round the great cities of the world. So wherever you might be reading this, be it Perth or Istanbul, or Washington, or Wales, we at Leith & North hope that one day you will get a chance to meet the figures and hear their stories.

Patriothall Gallery web site >>>
Return of the Soul web site >>>
Edinburgh Art Festval web site >>>
A nightmare of shattered lives: The Scotsman, July 24th >>>
Wikipedia article on the Auschwitz concentration camp >>>

Larger wax figures suspended at the foreground of Return of the Soul