Posted by: Just_in | November 15, 2009

“18” Photography Exhibit in Other Israel Film Festival

Other Israel Film Festival

 

On Friday I attended opening night of the photography exhibit entitled “18” as part of The Other Israel Film Festival.The exhibition is being held at the JCC (Jewish Community Center) in the Upper West Side of New York. This minor detail may not seem so important, however, the location of the exhibition is almost as important as the subjects in Natan Dvir’s portraits. The Other Israel Film Festival features the lives of Arabs living in Israel, a not-so-common perspective in the grand scope of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Natan Dvir, an Israeli, spent 3-4 months gaining the confidence of Arabs living in Israel in order to photograph them free of suspicion and in their natural element. The exhibit is called 18 because the subjects- all portraits or group portraits are 18 years old, a pivotal age for all individuals, but especially for Israelis, who are expected to serve their three years of mandatory service in the Israeli Army. So at a time when their counterparts are joining the military, Israeli Arabs embark on a different path. The photographs feature young men and women in uniforms of the sports they love, in their family’s living rooms with relatives, and in the street with their gang surrounding them. Below each photograph is a card displaying the name of the subject and their life-long aspirations. Some want to be physicians, professional athletes, philanthropists, engineers… the same occupations as children found anywhere in the world.

The exhibit- and the festival as a whole, got me thinking whether I should be attempting to re-brand the conflict or if I should focus on Israel- the dominant political entity in the conflict, to set  an example and pave the way for peace. Through thought, however, the concept itself still segregates the region and creates divisions of people- exactly the opposite of my intentions. I must remain objective and in the center in order to bring people from each side together.

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