Natural Conflict: Video and Photography from Israel explores a myriad of ongoing environmental issues in Israeli society through the work of seven established Israeli artists. From August 27 through December 5, at the Nevada Museum of Art, video and photography artists Shelly Federman, Ori Gersht, Sharon Glazberg, Avi Holtzman, Roi Kuper, Elyasaf Kowner and Shai Kremer, reveal how Israeli military presence, booming real estate development, and other environmental issues have both physically and metaphorically impacted the Israeli landscape.
Natural Conflict: Video and Photography from Israel endeavors to survey the varied visual and environmental realities in Israel through the eyes of the seven artists. Comprised of symbols of the Israeli landscape and culture, common sights, and hidden or unfamiliar places, the works grapple with the real, potential, and endangered beauty of the region with a blend of criticism and subtle sorrow.
“I’ve been drawn to the importance of sustainability from a young age, said Yaara Shachnai-Litwin, guest curator of Natural Conflict: Video and Photography from Israel. “Expressing this subject through a focused art exhibition will hopefully create new awareness and perspective. I’m grateful to the Nevada Museum of Art for welcoming the exhibition and hope to share it with other cities across the US and globally.”
Israel is a small country that claims an area of approximately 8,000 square miles—equivalent to 7.5 percent of the total area of Nevada. Approximately 30 percent of the country’s land is comprised of restricted military zones. These areas include training bases, firing zones, and ground and air exercise zones where public access is prohibited and actions are not monitored. Artists such as Shai Kremer and Roi Kuper – both internationally recognized – use photography to examine the issues related to this contested landscape.
Over the last decade, Israel has enjoyed a significant real-estate and construction boom largely driven by foreign buyers looking for vacation homes along the nation’s Mediterranean coast. Fast-paced construction in the region threatens Israel’s “green lung” and in some cases has led to the privatization of public beaches—topics that Shelly Federman explores in her video work featuring a “peep show”-type booth showcased at the 2004 Venice Biennale.
While environmental conflicts such as these are universal and enduring, in Israel the relative impact is greater due to its diminutive size and limited open space. Although environmental awareness exists, clear policies for protecting natural resources have evolved slowly and are sometimes challenged by powerful private interests and the needs of the military.
Natural Conflict: Video and Photography from Israel will be on view in the Feature North Gallery at the Nevada Museum of Art in downtown Reno from August 27—December 5, 2010. This exhibition is guest curated by Yaara Shachnai-Litwin. Interview opportunities are available with artists Shelly Federman, Ori Gersht, Roi Kuper and Shai Kremer.
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