The Way Home (2010—2012)

The Way Home

Curator: Gilit Fisher

Lili Cohen Prah-ya’s works introduce a maternal stance anxious for the wellbeing of her household. Featuring drawings on paper, created daily as a diary of sorts, the exhibition “The Way Home” is a documentation of a mother’s search for a survival strategy which she may bequeath to her young daughter in her encounter with an adversarial masculine world, which could lead to catastrophe. The good mother’s consciousness, according to Cohen Prah-ya, is concerned with the classical role of gatekeeper, protector of the home, family, and elusive sanity. The viewer faces the mother’s concern for the mental health and wellbeing of her family and home in portraits of girls, young, and mature women—Lolitas who look at the viewer defiantly. They are usually rendered in ink on paper, painted at the center of the sheet.

Cohen Prah-ya’s works portray young girls, yet relate to a type of an especially violent adolescence, hence the title “The Way Home” a-priori attests to the fateful, near inevitable progression toward physical, mental, and emotional loss. For example, a painting depicting a stalk-like adolescent girl drawn on paper, as if she were scratched and torn, bears the title 106 Har Zion St (2012) a location near Tel Aviv’s central bus station where young women and girls gather every night to offer their services to men in passing cars. Another work on paper, No Other Sex (2011), alludes to a poem by Yona Wallach, where “(an)other sex” refers to sadomasochistic relations, supposedly consensual violence. Cohen Prah-ya, on her part, strives to convey a critical warning to the Lolita, beseeching her not to believe.


“Poor girl
tried to be liked.
And God doesn’t want.
God decided that she’d be rejected.
And she tries
with tears
with shirt unbuttoned.
And she’s pretty
But God doesn’t want.
And God sent me
to insult her
to abuse her.
I think that
if I were a contractor
I wouldn’t have taken
as an engineer.”

—Ron Adler, In the Name of All Pains, 1976