From Donald Macintyre's story in today's Independent, London:
"In themselves, they are worth nothing. But everyday objects take on a new meaning when something terrible happens to their owner, as a poignant exhibition in Tel Aviv shows.
"Whenever Nadette de Visser travels with her exhibition Objects in Conflict - and it has been shown in Amsterdam and Jerusalem already - she takes as much of it as possible in her hand baggage for a simple, if paradoxical, reason.
"On the one hand, these pieces are monetarily valueless and therefore uninsurable: a pair of spectacles; a cardboard, heart-shaped chocolate box; a woollen kippa; a rusty old key; a bottle of home-made wine; some half-decayed bars from a soap-factory; an embroidered cushion and a metal dog-tag of the sort worn by every Israeli soldier.
"Yet to their owners they are precious beyond price. What would his East Jerusalem Palestinian family say if Ms de Visser lost the running shoes owned by George Khoury, who was shot dead while out jogging by militants who thought he was an Israeli Jew? Or the Israeli reporter Erik Schecter, who was badly wounded in a suicide bombing while working for the Jerusalem Post, if the ripped leather jacket he keeps as a symbol of his survival, because he believes it saved his life, disappeared? Or the Palestinian lawyer Amram Bakr if he could never look again at the junior delegate's security pass which he wore at the 1991 Madrid peace conference and describes as his "most precious non-familiar object" because it "encompasses my hopes and my people's dreams."
"So Ms de Visser, a Dutch journalist and art historian who visited each of the owners to hear their stories, is even more careful with the objects that make up the exhibition, which opened yesterday at the Masa Aher-Geo Photo College in Tel Aviv, than if they were expensive paintings or sculptures. "I found that after people had let me have the objects for the exhibition, they kept phoning and e-mailing me to check they were all right," she says. "But then when they saw the exhibition they felt OK and stopped contacting me."
"By using the human and the particular to focus on the pain and the complexities of the conflict, the exhibition is an unashamed attempt to make those on each side empathise with the other. And it seems to work. "I thought both people on the Palestinian and Israeli sides would say you have shown too much of the other side," Ms de Visser says. "But that didn't happen."