"This Place": 12 Artists' Takes on Israel and the West Bank
This Place, an exhibit in the Tang Museum until late April, is a multi- year project that invited a group of international artists to explore Israel and the West Bank. It focuses on different perspectives of one of the most contested regions through the eyes and lenses of multiple artists, including Frederic Brenner, Wendy Ewald, Martin Kollar, Josef Koudelka, Jungjin Lee, Gilles Peress, Fazal Sheikh, Stephen Shore, Rosalind Fox Solomon, Thomas Struth, Jeff Wall, and Nick Waplington. As well as a collaboration among four academic museums: Picker Art Gallery at Colgate University, the Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College, the University of Albany Art Museum, and our Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore.
Between 2009 and 2012, each of the twelve photographers in This Place spent an extended period of time in Israel and the West Bank, where Muslims and Jews, Palestinians and Isrealis, Africans, Bedouins, and others live side by side. Always aware of the threat of violence upon them, the photographers still produced wide-ranging work. Whether rendered as large format color, black and white, or documentary photographs that span pictorial genres of landscape, architecture, and portraiture, the images in this exhibit show the complexities of the region and the expansiveness of photography itself.
This Place gives an inside look into a life that others may never get to see due to how contested the region is. The amazing photography not only reveals breath taking landscapes, but also conveys stories in each of the photographs, providing a deeper understanding of how the region impacts those who live there. This exhibit allows an in-depth look into the lives of its residents, which makes this exhibit as equally powerful as it is sentimental.
Wendy Ewald, photographer for the following sets of photos, has employed participatory photography to engage and educate children and adults around the world, ranging from rural Appalachia to a small village in India, and even from Labrador, Canada to a village in the Colombian Andes. Instead of photographing her subjects, Ewald invites them to photograph themselves and their lives -- teaching the participants to empower themselves through photography. For this exhibit, Ewald collaborated with fourteen different communities to produce a collective portrait of life in Israel and the West Bank. The pictures in each set capture the unique character of each community and allow us to see the world through their eyes.
Wendy Ewald, Office of Social Affairs, East Jerusalem, 2013; Digital Prints on aluminum.
Photographs by children from the Burj Laq Laq, Old City: Aseel, Achmad, Bayan, Hiba, Huda, Israa, Jabar, Jibreen, Monzer, Narmeen, Mohammad, Nasser, Nita, Razan, Sohail.
(Left to right)
Top row: Man Kneeling on the Ground, 2013; Wedding Dress, 2013; Preparing Dinner, 2013; Unititled, 2013; A Building Near My House, 2013
Second row: Untitled, 2013; Police at Herod’s Gate, 2013; Photo of a Turtle on a Pillow, 2013; Me, 2013; House Decoration, 2013
Third row: Untitled, 2013; Untitled, 2013; Bab al- Huta Stairs, 2013
Fourth row: Photo of the Al- Aqsa Mosque with People, 2013; Kids Playing, 2013; Yard, 2013; Mustafa, 2013; Chandelier in My House, 2013
Fifth row: Untitled, 2013; Untitled, 2013; Untitled, 2013; God Bless His Soul, Hassounah, 2013
Julis Comprehensive School, Village of Julis, 2013; Digital prints mounted on aluminum.
Photographs by 7th and 8th grade students: Ameer A., Ameer I., Areen, Arwa, Hiba H., Hiba N., Ilan., Laura, Nada, Nasmat, Razeen, Tamar, Wassim.
(Left to right)
Top row: My Sister, Samar’s Engagement Dress, 2013; The Bread is Now Ready, 2013; My Niece Mayan Picking Dates from the Palm Tree, 2013; New House, 2013; Butterfly About to Fly, 2013; Uncle Kamel Hitting the Tree to Bring Down Olives, 2013
Second row: Olives on the Special Collecting Sheet, 2013; Portraits in the “House of Druze Heritage”, 2013; Untitled, 2013; Dough, 2013; Untitled, 2013; A Statue in Almona Park, 2013
Third row: Me in the Tree, 2013; This Machine Cleans the Leaves from the Olives, 2013; A Newly Built House Next to Ours, 2013; Sofa at Uncle Mansour’s House, 2013
Fourth row: Virgin Oil Poured into the Tank, 2013; Guest Room in Our House in Yarka, 2013; Untitled, 2013; The Entire Family Picking Olives, 2013; Untitled, 2013; Heart Shaped, 2013
Fifth row: Oil Refinery Staff at the Tub Separating Low and High Quality Oil to Keep Only High Quality Oil for Use, 2013; Rose Vase, 2013; My Sister Before Being Taken to Her Inlaw’s House on Her Wedding Day, 2013; My Aunt Picking Olives from the Dirt, 2013; In My Uncle Mansour’s House, 2013; Olives on the Ground, 2013
Blink Social Media Agency, 2013; Digital prints mounted on aluminum.
Photographs by employees: Anat, Danny, Dor, Einav, Etti, Guy, Hagar, Lior.
(Left to right)
Top row: Soldiers Talking and Waiting for the Train to Come, 2013; Cisco’s Civil Service Technology Conference; They Listen to Her, 2013; Cisco’s Israel office- My Favorite Client, 2013; Untitled, 2013; Untitled, 2013
Second row: Shabbat Candles; Every Married Woman’s Supposed to Cover Her Hair When She is Praying. All This After We Finished Cooking and Cleaning for Shabbat, 2013; Closing the Office, 2013; Untitled, 2013; Untitled, 2013; Untitled, 2013
Third row: My Husband’s Cousin, 2013; My Reflection, 2013; The Screen –Eyes are Watching, 2013; Untitled, 2013
Fourth row: Empty Chairs at Cisco Conference, 2013; Sneaking up on Ofir Who Usually Sneaks Up on People at the Office, 2013; Untitled, 2013; Yitzhak Rabin Assembly, 2013; Our Orthodox Neighbor Through the Hole in the Door, 2013
Fifth row: My Mum and My Aunt, 2013; New Year’s Dinner, 2013; My Dad is Orchestrating the Barbecue with his Favorite Beer, 2013; My Brother with Morning Coffee, 2013; Installation of all the “Tnuva” Products. They are My Customers and There is a Boycott on Them Because of the High Price of Cottage Cheese, an Israeli Staple, 2013; My Parents Making Dinner, 2013
Samoud Challenge Center, H2, Hebron, West Bank, 2013; Digital prints mounted on aluminum.
Photographs by children affected by nearby settlements: Adib, Ahed, Ahmed, Aseel, Hassan, Ibrahim, Mohammed, Saja, Salsabeel, Sharif, Shoroq, Samar, Waleed, Yazan.
(Left to right)
Top row: The Settlers are Dancing, 2013; Photo, 2013; Settler, 2013; A Stone Fell Down on the Land, 2013; A Boy Up the Roof, 2013; The Birds, 2013
Second row: Mohammad, 2013; Wolf, 2013; Visiting Settlers, 2013; Badia and Policeman, 2013; Untitled, 2013; Untitled, 2013
Third row: My Cousin and I, 2013; Happy Days, 2013; Israeli Soldiers, 2013; Happy Children, 2013
Fourth row: Doves, 2013; Israeli Soldiers, 2013; Picture of Abu Ammar and His Certificate of Success, 2013; My Grandfather and Grandmother, 2013; Dad When He is Cleaning Around the House, 2013; Palestinian Map from Sand and Stone, 2013
Fifth row: What Abu Ammar Said, 2013; Checkpoint, 2013; Settlers, 2013; Kamel Hmed, Governor of Hebron, 2013; Me and my Grandma in My House, 2013; Happy Day, 2013
Tzahali Military Academy, near Ashkelon, 2013; Digital prints mounted on aluminum.
Photographs by military academy students: Adi, Doria, Hadar, Hannah, Neta, Shira.
(Left to right)
Top row: Untitled, 2013; Untitled, 2013; Untitled, 2013; Studying, 2013; Dancing…Despite Everything, 2013; Blowin’ in the Wind, 2013
Second row: Untitled, 2013; Untitled, 2013; Untitled, 2013; My Cousin, 2013; Color War at the Mechina, 2013; An Illusion of Cinderella, 2013
Third row: Untitled, 2013; Pointing at Far Away Scenery, 2013; Untitled, 2013; Friendship, 2013
Fourth row: Praying, 2013; Untitled, 2013; Pray, 2013; Untitled, 2013; Untitled, 2013; Modern Highlights, 2013
Fifth row: Secrets…, 2013; Crowded Trailer, 2013; New on That Which Exists, 2013; Untitled, 2013; Untitled, 2013; Preparatory Program in Negev; Waking Up in the Morning, 2013
Education Institute, Sapir, Lod (Al- Lydda), 2013; Digital prints mounted on aluminum.
Photographs by children from the Burj Laq Laq, Old City: Aseel, Achmad, Bayan, Hiba, Huda, Israa, Jabar, Jibreen, Monzer, Narmeen, Mohammad, Nasser, Nita, Razan, Sohaila.
(Left to right)
Top row: “Mom, enough with the ciga”, 2013; The Cow’s Meat, 2013; My Brother Shlomi, 2013; Uncooked Chicken, 2013; Very Tall, 2013; Star of David with Flowers, 2013
Second row: Magnifying Glass, 2013; Brothers, 2013; Fall Collection, 2013; Family Picture, 2013; The Puma, 2013; Soul Candles in Zefat, 2013
Third row: The Hair Sight, 2013; Army Music, 2013; Too Bad I Don’t Have…, 2013; Alien-I, 2013; Tutti Frutti, 2013
Fourth Row: Me and My Friend at the Park, 2013; My Dad at Work, 2013; The Shadow, 2013; When My Brother Woke Up, He Was Wearing His School Uniform, 2013; Planter, 2013; Goat Eating, 2013
Fifth row: I’m Lighting Hanukkah Candles, 2013; Family, 2013; Ball, 2013; What a Beautiful Place, 2013; Playing Limbo, 2013; Green Olives, 2013
Stephen Shore incorporated the use of color photography as an art form in the 1970s with his photographs of ordinary America. His approach to photographing Israel and the West Bank, a region he called “impossible to comprehend,” was to employ a variety of techniques to capture its troubled, complex beauty. The works seen below are mainly landscapes and cityscapes, shot in color with a large-format camera -- though Shore also worked with a handheld digital camera and created black-and-white photographs of ancient cites with a view camera. Shore’s photographs are highly observant in execution. They invite us to slow our gaze and consider the ways in which the history of these beautiful places is presented into the fiber of the region.
Nabi Musa, 2010
Wadi Og, 2009
Mount Sodom, 2009
Nick Waplington, whose first major work was a study of working-class families in a U.K. public housing project, has a long interest in family. While living in Israel from 2008 until 2010, he photographed more than two hundred Jewish settlements in the hills of the West Bank, combining family portraits with images of the natural and built environment. Waplington was particularly fascinated with the problems and contradictions of the settler movement among immigrant families. His photographs are shot with a historical 8x10 inch bellows camera, which he used to distinguish his work from photojournalism -- the predominant mode of photographic representation of the West Bank and the settlers.
Gilles Peress documents the impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on everyday human lives in his photographs of Israel and the West Bank. He uses photography as a means of understanding reality that goes beyond the media’s calculated presentation of social and political situations. The images exhibited in a panorama below represent the most recent chapter of Peress’ engagement with Israel and Palestine, a project he began more than twenty years ago. With his imposing grid installation, akin to the layout of a photographic contact sheet, Peress invites us to contemplate how the troubles of this region are embedded and repeated within every second of unfolding time.
Contact Sheet, Palestinian Jerusalem, 2011-2013