Taba Beach.


In 1989, I found myself living on a rocky outcrop in a makeshift tent in the desert mountains above Taba Beach, Israel. This small stretch of beach, stony and lapped by the waters of the Red Sea was to be the setting of some of my strangest days. I met a number of travelers, drifters, musicians, tricksters and lonely lost souls. I survived on eggs and parsley, hummous and turkish coffee.

View of the Red Sea from Taba Mountains, 1989

Group of drifters, Taba Beach

A Ripping Scene, Oil on Canvas

I had my sketch book and would draw the scenes, try and make portraits and write my impressions. There was a musician, a violin player who lived in this tent by the shores and he seemed so content with his life. I drew his picture but the man who I was with at the time, reacted in a rage when he saw the drawing and ripped the drawing up. I painted a picture of the scene later, it showed how vulnerable I felt and how the men were so different, the violin player in the zone that I aspired to be in and the forces of negativity that blocked my path.

Sitting round the campfire, Taba Beach.

This was the rather bare campsite that we lived in. It was so stony and dry. Our days seemed to stretch endlessly, the landscape was harsh, the sun hot and unrelenting. We would share our minimal resources but we mostly survived on fried eggs, parsley, coffee and bread. We would meet people from many places and circumstances as they passed by. I would make sculptures out of found materials, draw on the large rocks with the charcoal sticks from extracted from the previous night's fire. It was a very lean and austere time.

Yellow and Blue, Taba Beach, Israel 1989

The Winner, Oil on Canvas

From my experience of living with few resources in the desert, I painted this work to express the value of having access to water, our most precious and essential resource. Those who are most vulnerable, either through poverty or environmental, rely on the generosity, compassion and basic humanity of those who are better placed to access water and other basic resources. We are all reliant on the well being of everyone around us to bring the standards of living up.

The Paranoid King, oil on canvas

The experience of living with someone who was possessive, calculating, insecure and yet perceived himself as a king was the inspiration for this work. The paranoid king is a dangerous man, all that assumption of power but it is used to control and contain those he believes are beneath him and out to get him. They cannot sleep with ease and lash out with impunity.

#placesivelived #TabaBeach #Desert #Sea

©SarenDobkins 2020     Artist