“Watershed” is theme of 3rd Jerusalem Biennale,
an international collection of Jewish Contemporary art,
comprised of 26 exhibitions in 9 venues,
running from October 1 – November 16.
One venue is the old Bezek Building on Chopin Street
across from the Jerusalem Theater.
Homelands, reflections of the Jews of Islamic Lands,
One descendant of Jews exiled from Arab lands,
Shy Abady, named his piece “Racial Profiling”
(or Uncle Ezra, Father and Gamal Abdel Nasser.)
Another fascinating venue was the
Museum of the Underground Prisoners,
which was built in the 1860s, as part of the Russian Compound.
The sign above the entrance says
“Marinskoe podvorie or Maria’s Court.”
During the British Mandate,
with its bars and cells, this place
was known for its harsh treatment of Jews.
What a striking contrast with these
works of contemporary art.
No complaining about kitchens after seeing this one,
or dorm mattresses either.
This was the infirmary.
One of the exhibit’s “Watershed” moments
was the Balfour Declaration,
of November 2, 1917,
which was projected as part of this art piece.
It was located next to this
replica of the British Mandate office.
The contrast of old and new
is always a major theme in Jerusalem,
but here it goes further as the isolation cells were
used to show various videos of watershed moments.
In this former prison a room is dedicated as a memorial to
those fallen in establishing a state in the Jewish homeland.
The words of Hatikvah are on the wall
behind the hanging gallows,
and their photos are a few meters away.
Outside in the prison yard,
a corner designated for Muslim prayer.
The former prison, being used as an art gallery,
held some of my favorite pieces
made by Jewish Artists in America,
Jeffrey Brosk, Barabara Hines and George Tobolowsky.
Talking with them was also a pleasure,
as they explained their work.
It was recently announced
that this former prison will become the home of Galatz,
the IDF military radio station.
Please notice the construction fence on the left,
that leads to the new Bezalel Arts Campus.
So much more, but all there is time for now.
For more check, RJS Facebook photos
and link to full Biennale website.
And still more,
the 9th year showcasing Jerusalem contemporary art
is the Jerusalem festival called Manofim
The Shabbat Project held multiple events,
and the annual Oud Festival is beginning.
Another week of too much happening
on the Jerusalem, Israel streets