An Artist's Tribute to Vanunu

by Rayna Moss

Visitors to a popular art gallery in Tel Aviv were greeted on January 20 by a banner that declared, "Mordechai Vanunu, languishing in prison for 4,853 days. Free Him Now!"

The display over the entrance of The Expert Gallery marked the newest exhibition of Israeli artist Micky Tropher.

Tropher has created life-size figures constructed entirely of barbed wire and enclosed in a maze-like structure crossed with barbed wire and reminiscent of a detention camp. When curator Buki Greenberg saw the unusual sculpture it made him think of prisoners-especially Israel's most famous political prisoner.

He suggested to the artist that he dedicate the exhibition to Mordechai Vanunu-and Tropher agreed.

More than 100 braved stormy weather to attend the opening of the exhibition. They heard a speech by Gideon Spiro, a founder of the the Israeli Committee for Mordechai Vanunu, and a reading of Vanunu's poem, "I Am Your Spy."

Greenberg said it was impossible to see the sculpture and not think of Vanunu behind prison bars.

The banner ticking off Vanunu's time served in Ashkelon Prison was updated daily through the show's February 19 closing.