Project funding request
- you can help make this happen.
Negev Guardian Project is volunteer-based.
We need an
additional $50,000 .
For more details:
972-8-9313018 / Eylon Mogilner / e-mail:
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
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
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
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
The sculpture is a weapon, a testimony of the continuous
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.
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.
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
About the project initiator:
The environmental-social artist
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
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.