Photography Exhibition Reflects on Life on Kibbutz Be’eri

Silvery water and starry earth - a journey of hope and resilience.


Community, Art

(SeventyFour /

Photographer Sofie Berzon MacKie had a vision of creating an exhibition that would capture the essence of her community in Kibbutz Be’eri, Israel. Her focus: the living room, a space that symbolized warmth, connection, and the heart of communal life. But before she could bring her vision to life, tragedy struck. On October 7, the peace of Kibbutz Be’eri was shattered by an unthinkable act of violence. Hamas terrorists launched a devastating attack, leaving death and destruction in their wake. Berzon MacKie, her family, and her neighbors became victims of this brutal assault. Hundreds of lives were lost, and the community was left reeling from the aftermath.

Photography as a form of expression and healing
Amidst the chaos and sorrow, Berzon MacKie and her family found themselves among the evacuees, forced to flee their once peaceful home. The sanctuary of their living room now lay in ruins, along with the rest of their beloved Kibbutz Be’eri. The gallery where Sofie had poured her passion and creativity for thirteen years was destroyed, adding another layer of loss to her already heavy heart.

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“We went through a violent, traumatic event, we were almost murdered, our community has been through such a horrific trauma and then there’s nowhere to go to heal from that. We were rescued under fire, people left their homes barefoot, with nothing. My home is badly damaged, my past is gone, destroyed.” Berzon Mackie told The Times of Israel, adding,“We were thrown into the world so violently and left without anything.”

But even in the face of unimaginable tragedy, Berzon MacKie and her family refuse to be defined by despair. Instead, they are determined to rebuild their lives from the ashes of destruction. It's a daunting task, fraught with challenges and uncertainties, but they refuse to give up hope. For Berzon Mackie, photography has always been a way to make sense of the world and connect with others. Now, as she navigates this journey of rebuilding, her art takes on new meaning. Her new exhibition entitled ‘Silvery Water and Starry Earth’, captures this journey and the resilience and strength of the human spirit.

“Berzon Mackie invites us to visit her living room. It no longer exists. She rebuilds it in the gallery space, deliberately blurring the lines between the house she left and the house in which she exhibits. Without text, the works are the raw materials for constructing the interpretive story. These are delicate photographs that reality abruptly invaded on October 7, expropriated them, and claimed new meanings. Now they move between the personal and the collective, between the concrete and the symbolic, touching questions of time and place, of what was and is no more,” the artist's blog post about the exhibition explains. 

Community resilience in the midst of displacement
In the midst of loss and displacement, Berzon Mackie finds solace in the memories of her community—the laughter shared in the living room, the camaraderie of her neighbors, the bonds that held them together through both good times and bad. These memories fuel her determination to rebuild, to create a new sense of home and belonging amidst the rubble.

“The story of the Negev is my story, it’s the story of living with these tensions and trying to figure out what is the deal with this place, how to feel so connected to a place that is obviously very violent at times,” Berzon Mackie told The Times of Israel. 

As Berzon Mackie and her family continue to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives, they draw strength from the support of friends, family, and their broader community. It's a long and arduous road ahead, but they face it with courage and resilience, knowing that their spirit cannot be broken by the horrors of the past. Their story is a testament to the power of resilience, community, and the indomitable human spirit.

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