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NATAN DVIR
Eighteen

February 15 May 12, 2013
Exhibition Opening Reception: Friday, February 15, 6:00-8:00pm
Artist's Talk and Reception: Friday, March 29, 6:00 - 8:00pm

Dvir
Mohammad (Nazareth, Muslim)
  "Eighteen is an artistic point of contact serving as an invitation to get closer. A project aimed at reconciliation through understanding and respect. An inside view by one who is typically regarded as an outsider. If I, a Jewish-Israeli man, have been accepted and was allowed into my subjects’ personal lives – so can others."–Natan Dvir

“Although I grew up and spent most of my photographic career in Israel, I came to realize I did not truly know or understand its Arab society - over a fifth of the population consisting of hundreds of thousands of families who stayed within Israelʼs borders after it was established in 1948. This large minority, which is currently experiencing a challenging identity crisis, has been somewhat forgotten amidst the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In a highly political environment I became interested in the stories of these people living as a minority in a country defined by its majority’s religion.”
-- Natan Dvir


ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

The subjects for the series Eighteen, by Israeli photographer Natan Dvir, are 18-year-old Arabs living in Israel. Turning 18 is a critical turning point in their young lives: they have finished school, become legal adults, and achieved the right to vote. Yet unlike their Jewish peers, most do not enter military service. They are members of a minority group which comprises more than one-fifth of the nation’s population. As a photographer born and raised in Israel, Dvir undertook this project to better understand the experience of Arabs coming of age in a country defined by the majority’s religion: “By photographing and portraying my so-called ‘enemy,’ I hope to highlight the impact that cultural and internal conflict have had on these young people, personally and collectively. I chose to photograph my subjects in their close surroundings . . . attempting to reveal the social context within which they live." –Natan Dvir


"By photographing my subjects within their normal surroundings I hope to present a sense of place, and to reveal the social context of their lives. The essence of the intimate environmental portraits does not lie in their aesthetics, but rather in their complex dynamics - unwelcoming expressions and body language testifying to the tense nature of our engagement. The combination of portraits, personal testimonies and daily life images reveals the transformation in my interaction with my subjects while shedding light on their lives." –Natan Dvir

Dvir
Jehad with Friends

Dvir
Aseel (Umm Al-Fahm, Muslim)

"I love living in Umm Al-Fahm. This is a Muslim city considered noble for its hospitality and respect for others, yet sometimes we must defend ourselves against our enemies. A few months ago, we had to prevent Baruch Marzel, an ultra-right wing Jewish nationalist, from entering the city to stir up trouble. Ten years ago, three young men were killed here during the October 2000 clashes. I was very young at the time yet remember how horrible it was then. In the past I used to go with my father to Jewish cities, but after what happened, we hardly have time anymore. I prefer being in a family with sisters, since a brother might have imposed increased restrictions. My mother taught me well how to follow Islam, how to dress properly, and how to be respectful of others. I am not allowed to have a relationship with a man before we are engaged. I loved somebody once but never told him. It is better to avoid all the mess of falling in love before getting married. My dream is to become an English teacher and help the people of my city. I currently work at a local grocery shop, study sociology in a college near Tel Aviv, and improve my English by reading books. I am very optimistic and believe good things happen to those that stay positive." –Aseel (Umm Al-Fahm, Muslim)


ARTIST STATEMENT

Having been raised in Israel, I was regularly exposed to strong religious, social and political beliefs and ideas from an early age. Holy sites situated throughout Israel make the (physically) small country extremely important for Jews, Christians, Muslim and many other religions. The regionʼs history combined with the volatile political situation today, results in a complex and intense reality in which people emphatically and publicly express themselves. I am fascinated and sometimes frightened by the extreme situations people reach in the pursuit and defense of their beliefs. I explore the various sides of how people practice their beliefs, the places it brings them to and the scenes in which they take part. Regardless of specific religious or political affinities, belief can provide a sense of community, belonging, safety, and understanding, yet might also provoke hatred, separation and aggressiveness. I wish to confront and dispute the widespread misconceptions and stereotypes about the people within my own country that I was brought up to consider more as foes than as allies.
" –Natan Dvir



ABOUT THE ARTIST


Natan Dvir is an Israeli photographer who focuses on the human aspects of political, social and cultural issues. He received his MBA from Tel Aviv University and his MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts (NY). He is based in New York City and photographs around the world for Polaris Images. His work was published by numerous international magazines including the New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, Glamour, Le Monde, Journal de Dimanche, Stern, Focus, Die Zeit, Corriere Della Sera, Die Weltwoche and Wallpaper.

Dvir has exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions in the United States, Europe, South America and Israel including at the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston); the Museum of Contemporary Art (Cleveland); Blue Sky Gallery; Festival de la Luz, Buenos Aires; the Jewish Community Center in New York; The War Museum, Croatia; Central European House for Photography, Slovakia; Schneider Gallery (Chicago); Museo de Antioquia (Medellin); Christie’s (London); Kultur Bahnhof Eller (Düsseldorf); the Museum of Contemporary Israeli Art and at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. His work has received recognition wining many prizes including the Photo District News (PDN) Annual, American Photography Award, New York Photography Festival Award, Critical Mass top 50, Black and White Spider Award, and the Picture of the Year Award in the Israeli press.



“This project promotes self-reflection and encourages viewers to contemplate their own beliefs, or the ideals of their communities, and the intensity with which belief affects their actions and way of life."
-- Natan Dvir

The project Eighteen was made possible with the support of the Other Israel Film Festival.

Click HERE for information about Natan Dvir.

All images are Dye Coupler prints (Type C color).


Dvir Dvir
Dvir
Mohannad (Biane, Muslim) Hanan (Abu Grinath, Bedouin) Mohammad (Haifa, Muslim)

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