After the Tribes
Museo Boncompagni Ludovisi, Rome
October 11th – December 31st, 2018

After the Tribes is a site-specific installation structured around twelve circular paintings on semitransparent PVC that enliven an imposing four-meter-high metal structure. The work relates the story of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, who descended directly from the sons of Jacob to form the Jewish people. Along with research into cartographic materials at the National Library of Israel, Beverly Barkat based her work on these historical studies, concentrating in particular on color and material to conjure a complex universe of symbols and references. The artist’s color palette derives from soil collected from the lands where each of the twelve tribes dwelt, from the natural elements gathered from the earth and from the gemstone representing them, associated with their occupations. All these elements, ground up and then mixed with acrylic paints and pastel pigments, give rise to each individual work, which is therefore unique and unrepeatable.

Beverly Barkat’s work therefore presents itself as a large abstract, three-dimensional trompe-l’œil that dialogues with the mural paintings of the tree-lined allées and gardens of Villa Ludovisia, painted on the walls of the Salone delle Vedute, where the installation is located. After the Tribes projects the spectator into another dimension, in which space is annulled and we find ourselves in an imaginary place, one that evokes a story reaching back across the millennia.

Dr Giorgia Calò