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Legitimacy of landscape
A solo exhibition by Yaakov Israel
Curator: Dr. Mark Long
Opening: Friday, February 1, 2019
Closing date: Saturday, April 27, 2019
“I thought about the Palestinian villages you see along the side of Route 443 – fear makes them transparent. I asked myself: if so many people deny their existence, in a physical and psychological sense – do these places really exist? (Yaakov Israel)
The Legitimacy of Landscape exhibition summarizes a 16 year long project, during which Yaakov took photographs of Arab, Bedouin and Druze villages, in Israel and the Occupied Territories. A sort of voyage through the socio-political landscapes of the state of Israel and the Territories.
From Majdal al Shams in the north, through Beit Hanina, Judeira, Bayt Duqu that sit behind the wall along Route 443, Silwan, Shu'afat, Jericho and to unofficial villages across the Bedouin hinterland in the south, the photographic series aims to introduce the observers to the Arab villages that account for one fifth of the population of Israel. The countrys' complex social and political reality has turned these villages into repressed landscapes as, for a significant sector of the countrys' residents, they represent the Jewish-Arabic conflict, the enemy.
The exhibition is designed to open windows on the stories of these places, which without these pictures, may not exist. The series provokes thought about places that have been forgotten in Israeli society, and prompts discourse about the selective vision employed by many Israelis in order to escape reality, as a mean of contending with the political situation in Israel.
The photographs were shot by means of a regular camera format, based on a similar technique to that used by the landscape photographers of the 19th century who documented the Holy Land, as a salute to the history of photography. This technique, which makes it possible to document the reality in a fare focused way than the human eye is able to perceive in the same conditions, comprises a hype-realistic rendition of reality. The result is generously proportioned photographs that will be placed around the display space, and will enable the visitor to get a sense of standing opposite the actual landscape, and to try to cope with the sense of fear of others, strangers and the unknown.