“In Esperia, a portrait of a forgotten artist and a former secret service agent is interlaced with a personal narrative depicting the filmmaker’s relationship with her fading grandfather.” Hakim Bishara reviews Haidi Motola’s new film revealing her grandfather Jacques Motola’s double identity as an Israeli painter and secret service agent in Egypt.
The show "Stolen Arab Art" that recently opened in Tel Aviv is tainted by exploitation, ignorance, incoherence, and impersonation. The organizers blatantly disregard the will of the chosen artists not to show their work in Israel. The members of Tohu's editorial board object to the patronizing act perpetrated under the guise of enlightenment and dialogue.
"Pre-Israeli Orientalism: A Photographic Portrait", written by Dor Guez, focuses on a photographic genre from the early decades of the twentieth century as a local, unique, and complex case of visual Orientalism. Hagai Ulrich reviews the book and suggests broadening the conversation through the values and characteristics of performance art.
Visiting the Ameen Rihani Museum in Freike, Lebanon has started Matt Hanson on a path to trace the Hebrew translation of the well-known author’s Kings of Arabia, which came out only two years after the first Arabic edition. What were the motivations behind this translation and how did its impact evolve over the years?
In the second part of his essay analysing Akram Zaatari’s 2013 work “Letter to a Refusing Pilot,” Noah Simblist addresses a previous work by the artist that involved a conversation with filmmaker Avi Mograbi. Simblist is reading this work through the prism of dialogical exchange, referencing Grant Kester’s definition of “dialogical art,” as well as Ella Shohat’s observations on the identity politics of Mizrachi or Arab Jews.
In the summer of 1982, during Israel’s incursion into Southern Lebanon, a story swirled around the port town of Saida that acquired mythological flourishes: One of the Israeli fighter jets that were sent to the nearby Palestinian refugee camp of Ain El-Helweh, aborted its mission to bomb a school building, its pilot dropping the bombs into the sea instead. In a text for Tohu Magazine, that will be published in 3 parts, Noah Simblist dives into Lebanese artist Akram Zaatari’s work, Letter to a Refusing Pilot, instigated by this true story.
In Eyal Weizman’s new book, the reader joins the author as he hovers over contested territories in the Middle East, follows him as he traces the histories, ideologies, slippery borders, technologies, and narratives involved in the State-inflicted marginalization and displacement of the Bedouin inhabitants of the Negev desert, in Southern Israel. Rotem Rozental reviews “The Conflict Shoreline,” as well as Weizman’s methodology of forensic visual culture research.
The Dome of the Rock – that golden, volatile rock of contention – is at the center of an exhibition at the Bezalel Photography Gallery. Noa Hazan writes for Tohu about the exhibition and about the visual research that has preceded it, which involved studying hundreds of photographs of the site from the last 150 years, and suggested new terms for looking at its visual representations.