"Jerusalem of Gold" is a misrepresentation, a deceptive fantasy of harmonious existence in a united city. It is a far cry from the city's reality. As in David Reeb's painting, behind the gilded holiness lurks a revolting mirror image.
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.
What do recent accounts of institutional cultural practice in the Middle East offer to further the understanding and the development of contemporary cultural production in the region, and what do they fail to address? Lama Suleiman reviews the latest volume in the ongoing Ibraaz publication series on visual culture in the Middle East and North Africa
“The work of the photojournalists’ collective Activestills does not settle for reflecting the grim reality by providing representations of it, but offers a more active mode of photography that joins the protests of the struggling communities being photographed.” Nadeem Karkabi reviews the recently published book that covers a decade of Activestills’ collective photo-activism.
The third and final part of the essay by Noah Simblist focuses on Akram Zaatari’s use of dialogical exchange as an artistic strategy. While completely different in their dynamics and outcomes, Zaatari’s conversations with both Hagai Tamir and Avi Mograbi, he argues, reveal different degrees of both personal and political engagement and, at the same time, various forms of antagonism and refusal.
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.
A painter who has internalized the Western Orientalist gaze, a minor artist given recognition as lip service to the British Indian community, or one who offers a sharp, complex, subversive outlook on identity, society, and sexuality? Bar Yerushalmi writes for Tohu about Indian-born painter Bhupen Khakhar's retrospective at the Tate Modern.
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.