Roni Gross has successfully continued her project Zitouna over the course of 25 years. Twice a year, she creates a limited edition book or broadside which expands on the cultural ideas which emanate from Valentines Day and Halloween. The projects have explored a wide variety of themes from folklore and superstition to wordplay and mythology.
As a project that began in 1989, what was your initial inspiration for this ongoing work?
The Zitouna pieces started as limited edition book-like objects made in honor of Valentines Day and Halloween each year. I chose those holidays because they are secular and thus inclusive. It began by an investigation of the origins of the traditions cross culturally, and then deepened over time to consider the seasons in which they occur – times of death and rebirth.
How do you find inspiration as you continue year by year?
I have found this a very fruitful project that has led me to investigate alchemy, concepts about skeletal understanding throughout the ages, mythology and superstitions, to name a few topics. The deadline is a motivator and I have not yet felt that I am reaching the end of the possible topics for exploration.