The Negev Guardian Environmental-Social Advocacy Project

The Agenda behind the Negev Guardian project
"Every child deserves non-toxic air, water and earth, in order to live"

A monumental statue - a 5 storey high, 450 tons -  erected in front of Ramat Hovav, a major toxic Hot Spot in the south of Israel.


in the 27/11/05 the statue was erected .
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The purpose of this monument is to turn into a well known tourist point to lure people to it, and in this way allow people to make a first hand acquaintance with the problematic issues of pollution and stinking smells from the industrtial zone of Ramat Hovav.


 more photos

 

   



Project funding request
- you can help make this happen.

The Negev Guardian Project is volunteer-based.
We need an additional $50,000 .

For more details:

972-8-9313018 / Eylon Mogilner /  e-mail: emogilner@systel.co.il


The "Negev Guardian" is a monumental statue that was built by Arab Bedouins and Jews,  in front of Ramat-Hovav industrial park in the Negev, in the south of Israel.

The statue and the legendary erection serve as an eternal protest in front of the polluting factories of Ramat-Hovav.

Many volunteers have participated in the construction of the "Negev Guardian" statue, Jews and Arab Bedouins alike.
It was one of the most artistic, logistics operations ever to be performed in Israel.

 


"Shomer Ha Negev"- "The Guardian of the Negev" / by Miriam Smilan  

 

The Ancient face of the Negev Guardian, 450 ton of cement foundation and iron construction, a mold made of 1400 earth: 1000 ton of Negev Earth and red loam. This colossal sculpture stands in front of a site of poisonous litter in Ramat Hovav. The sculpture was envisioned and made by the artist Emilio Mogilner helped by a fleet of semitrailers, cranes and tractors, volunteers of the Negev area, Bedouins, and enthusiastic fans in the struggle for a healthy environment.
The base of the sculpture is 8 meters width and with its 5 storey height resembles
in a way a pyramid.
 
Emilio wants to transform a controversial site, which is polluting the Negev environment and becoming hazardous to the Negev inhabitants, into a tourist site!
People, who wish to photograph themselves in this neglected area, would be forced to smell the strong and nauseous odor of the chemicals.
The role of "Shomer HaNegev" is to protest against the pollution caused by the factories and will stay erected until the production of dangerous material will cease and the inhabitants of the area will be able to breathe pure air. It is a symbol of a struggle. Mogilner's slogan is that every child has the fundamental right for fresh air, good water and soil clean from dangerous poison.
The hollow mold dug inside the soil, was filled with cement, leaving Mogilner and dozens of volunteers that helped in the making of the sculpture, clueless for a year of what the final result may be…

During the construction of the muddy cast a revolt happened since some of the Bedouins said that the sculpture was against the Islamic religion which considered a face as idolatry. After discussing and debating, the artist decided to give the three rebellious Bedouins five solid minutes to destroy as much as they could of the negative (before the casting).
In five minutes of struggle they managed to destroy a work of many days, after which the cement poured into the semi-destroyed sculpture redefined it. The imperfection serves as testimony of the rage of the people who resisted and objected to it.
The head resembles the monumental "Moai" figures of The Easter Islands that were carved in volcanic rock 1200 years ago.

In the Isolated Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean (once heavily forested with giant, now – extinct, palms) "survived" only the "Moai" shaped as gigantic monumental figures carved in volcanic stuff. These sculptures are probably a harsh testimony of a culture that destroyed itself by obsessive resource exploitation, leaving the Island desolated and treeless!
The trees were cut for housing and fire and eventually for the rollers and lever- like devices used to move and erect the Moai. A seemingly never –ending supply of raw materials, technological advance, population growth, depletion of resources, war, collapse…Easter Island is a story of our time!

Creating a megalomaniac piece of art is not Emilio's vision, he would have preferred being the promoter of sustainable and environmentally-friendly agricultural practices.
The "Guardian of the Negev" is an evolution of Emilio's research as he engages his art work for the cause of what he truly believes in: the survival of our environment, the saving of mother earth from pollution and ecological disasters.

The sculpture is a weapon, a testimony of the continuous ecological disaster.
The guardian of the Negev is made of armed cement, it probably will survive many possible ecological disasters. It will guard and fight against the real enemy of humanity: the continual industrial pollution and toxic poisoning of the environment: the air, the water and the land.

 




About
Ramat-Hovav:
Ramat-Hovav industrial park is probably the biggest toxic hotspot in the Middle East. It is a self managed municipal authority. Ramat-Hovav contains most of Israel's chemical factories which pollute the area, historical unmanaged dumping areas, more than 2,500 acres of evaporation ponds piped from the factories, a national toxic waste site which includes incineration, and more.

The air, soil and groundwater pollution emitted by these factories cause severe illnesses among the Negev population.
An epidemiological survey recently released by the Israeli Health Ministry finds a clear connection between the pollution and the high cancer and respiratory illnesses among Jewish and Bedouin communities in the area.

Across the road, in front of the main entrance of Ramat-Hovav, live the "El-Azazme" Bedouin tribe, a tribe of Arab Palestinian which suffer the most from the pollution.
The El-Azazme tribe decided together with the artist Emilio Mogilner, to build the huge statue. It is a rare mutual Arab and Jewish cooperation, in a creative social-environmental project.

About the project initiator:
The environmental-social artist Emilio Mogilner initiated dozens of artistic activities, from direct actions to social-environmental festivals, in order to raise awareness to issues of social-environmental problems in the national media.

In mid 2001 Emilio survived an assassination attempt in his studio due to his environmental activities. Shot from point blank range, his right and dominant arm was ripped off at his shoulder. Unfortunately, due to the extensive damage suffered by his nerves, he remained paralyzed in his right arm but has learned to paint with his left. Since then he has become even more involved in what is connected with the environment and takes part in official acts where he is in charge of the artistic presentation or as in most cases, he is the artistic enterpriser or carries the artistic protest in all kinds of happenings devised by him.




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