Just like the Japanese Tea Ceremony, in which extreme care is taken in the planning and process of preparing tea - the choice of utensils, the place, the decoration and the time - my family had a ceremony for serving and eating strawberries, the strawberries ceremony.
With these simple words, artist Alejandra Okret opens her artist book Frutilla, Fragole, Strawberries. The unique book takes us on a magical voyage of childhood memories. It is a personal journey of rich and fascinating life images accompanied by text, photos from the past, and original works of art.
The first artist e-book ever published by an artist in Israel, the book is a labor of love that took 13 years to complete. In the book, Alejandra Okret conducts an art colloquy with her father Enrique Okret, actor and photographer (6 July 1928 – 12 November 1999). According to Alejandra, “This is not only a memoir, this is not only an art book. This is a book that presents sparks of memories and conversations that I had with my late father, who was a performer and an intellectual.”
Alejandra spent years researching and investigating, following after fantasies of her father’s lost childhood and cherished memories of berry-picking in Europe prior to the Nazi invasion, and later, coping with the political turmoil of the 60’s & 70’s in Uruguay, where Alejandra was born.
The e-book is an authentic work of art which closes a generational circle by evoking the rich and colorful "language" of strawberries. Throughout the course of her life, Alejandra discovered that she was repeatedly drawn to the recurring strawberry motif in her work. She immersed herself totally—from every angle—through material, shape, color, and even the written word. Working on the book was a process of personal discovery, releasing an intense passion for the sensual fruit and exploring the ceremony that accompanied her childhood connection to strawberries.
The printed version of the book was designed very intentionally with a horizontal binding in order to comfortably accommodate, side by side, the three languages in which it was written: Spanish, English and Hebrew. Creating a trilingual book was not a casual choice. The text of her father’s memoirs was written in Spanish and has since been translated into both Hebrew and English.
On the cover we see the writing: miren frutillas (look strawberries), which appears like a Haiku saying gently: open our eyes and see the beauty of the world. Words are part of Okret's oeuvre, they become a line, a color, a thread; switching from language to language, reflecting the multi-cultural mosaic of the artist's life.
While the book’s concept is unique, the themes it touches on are universal. Frutillas, Fragole, Strawberries – each word has its own cadence, and carries the reader to a different place. The reader is invited to wander through this luscious work of art: dive into the story, revel in the art, bite into the strawberry.
Frutilla, Fragole, Strawberries is truly an extraordinary accomplishment.