The Ohio Arts Council's Riffe Gallery will present
Aspirations: Toward a Future in the Middle East, January 25-April 8, an
exhibition of more than 170 images by 11 Israeli and Palestinian
photographers. Aspirations seeks to address a goal that seems impossible and
inevitable at the same time-peace in the Middle East between the Israeli and
Palestinian people. Artists in the exhibition have been chosen for their
ability to convey a sense of self, place and community. The exhibition is
curated by Robert Stearns, senior program director, Arts Midwest and Nella
Cassouto, independent curator, Jerusalem.
There will be an opening reception on Thursday, January 25, from 5-7 p.m.
The event is free and open to the public.
Aspirations is produced by the Ohio Arts Council's International Program in
partnership with Arts Midwest and with the support of the Illinois Arts
Council and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cultural and Scientific
Relations Department and Office of Cultural Affairs in the United States,
Consulate General of Israel, New York.
The issues at the heart of this exhibition concern everyone, no matter
where we live, said Wayne Lawson, executive director of the Ohio Arts
Council. For that reason, we were inspired to assemble an exhibition of
diverse viewpoints from the Middle East and to share it with audiences in
North and South America. We hope it will encourage dialogue among many
different cultures about a situation that will continue to evolve over time
and affect our lives for years to come.
Israeli and Palestinian cultures are like geologic plates painfully grinding
against each other. But politics, compounded by religious division,
camouflages common bonds of social and economic interdependence that can
drive the peace process, the curators say.
Images in this exhibition convey the realities and aspirations of the
photographers. The artists certainly desire peace, but in the face of the
perpetual disappointments of the past, they view their world with a
combination of optimism, skepticism and irony
Aspirations focuses on the medium of photography because it is available to
artists of many different backgrounds. It also is adaptable to different
artistic attitudes from the abstract and conceptual to the politically
motivated and photo-journalistic. And for viewers, it provides a common
ground from which to grasp these artists' widely differing messages.
Only artists from Israel and the Palestine territories were chosen because
their confrontations are well known and closely watched around the world.
Artists who created images that are both personally relevant and universally
recognizable were chosen for the exhibition. As a result, these photographs
reflect many aspects of everyday reality in the region at the beginning of
the 21st century.
Artists represented in the exhibition include Issa Freij, Amit Geron,
Yehoshua Glotman, Noel Jabbour, Adi Nes, Naomi Tereza Salmon, Tamir Sher,
Osama Silwadi, Sharon Ya'ari, Lee Yanor and Khaled Zighari.
Two special events will take place in the gallery during the exhibition. On
Sunday, January 28 at 2 p.m. Aspirations co-curator, Nella Cassouto, will
share her personal insights about the artists and their work. On Sunday,
March 4 at 2 p.m. Aspirations co-curator Robert Stearns and mediation
specialist Patricia Williams will discuss the making of this exhibition and
the power of communities around the globe.
A full-color catalog of the exhibition will be available for $10.
Aspirations: Toward a Future in the Middle East will travel in Latin America
to Buenos Aires, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; Havana, Cuba; and Monterrey,
Mexico; and will continue its United States tour beginning in Chicago in
The exhibition is supported by the Ohio Building Authority. Media sponsors
include Columbus Alive, Small Business News, Time Warner Communications and
In 1996 Israel and the State of Ohio signed a cultural exchange agreement to
facilitate exchange opportunities in the arts, education and humanities. The
agreement opened the door for artist and exhibition exchanges between Ohio
and Israel. Common Ground: Contemporary Landscapes from Isreal and Ohio was
the first exhibition to take place under the agreement.
50 x 70 cm