"Of the Same Sea" is an artist book following Yuval Avrami's journey to the Sinai Peninsula to meet Sara El-Laithi, a professional mermaid from Egypt. The book opens a window into the world of 'mermaiding' - dressing up as mermaids and mermen - and raises questions about the mermaid's power to break down different boundaries and barriers. The photographs in the book are accompanied by the conversation between the two, which deals with national narratives and breaking free of them, drag and the power of dressing up, and the importance of magic in life.
The mermaid (and her lesser known partner, the merman) - a hybrid creature half human and half fish - is an ancient symbol that existed in the Middle East for hundreds and thousands of years. The earliest image of such a creature came from the Israel - a silver coin bearing the figure of the goddess-protector of the city of Ashkelon, Atargatis. In her essence, the mermaid blurs boundaries, undermining all the binary and dichotomous divisions it touches on: between sea and earth, male and female, human and animal. In their encounter, Yuval Avrami and Sara El-Laithi discuss their shared histories as Israeli and Egyptian, exploring the power that this symbol holds for transformation, undermining their different identities and blurring the distinct boundaries that define them.
Yuval Avrami is an artist and designer, graduate of the Department of Visual Communication at the Bezalel Academy and the Faculty of Computer Science at the Hebrew University.