Dudu Geva's Vision Takes to the Roof of City Hall

A giant yellow duck was inflated yesterday on the rooftop of the Tel Aviv Municipal building, as hundreds of jubilant gatherers cheered in Rabin Square down below. The event was the realization of a vision dreamed up some five years ago by the late artist, illustrator and writer Dudu Geva, that was intended to be part of an initiative to bring joy to the citizens of the city and incorporate art into everyday life.

Geva, who died unexpectedly in February 2005, was famous for the duck drawing and other illustrations that appeared in newspapers in a career that spanned over three decades.

He came up with the idea of the "duckization of Tel Aviv," which called for the city to be decorated with huge sculptures of ducks and other animals, amusing street signs, and the embellishment of trees with colorful pieces of paper.

"My initiative stems from the fact that the city is lost," Geva wrote in a Tel Aviv newspaper in 2003. "Tel Aviv is so ugly that you need to erase entire streets and start from scratch. At least let us decorate and celebrate in the streets. The city hall is a lost building. If a giant duck were placed on its roof, everything would change. The idea is to bring joy back to the people's hearts and incorporate art in everyday life."

Part of Geva's dream became a reality yesterday when a huge air pump began to slowly breathe life into the 10-meter-high duck placed at the edge of the building. It stretched its legs, raised its head and beak and, finally, stretched its chest and let its yellow legs dangle off the edge of the gray building. From its throne, the duck nonchalantly looked over the city.

The event was organized by Geva's two children and artist Yuval Caspi, who collected the funding and received the municipal permits that allowed the event take place.

Geva's son Aharon told the crowd that the event's main purpose was to create cheap, accessible art for the people. He expressed his hope that more space in Tel Aviv will be devoted to humor and art.

"This is an optimistic, happy and artful initiative for the street proletarian," he said. "What unites us is the goal of living a productive and optimistic life, and the will to put a smile on our faces - that's what my dad intended when he created the duck and all his other creations."

Caspi thanked all those involved in the project, and comically announced the creation of the "Duck State," satirizing the creation of the State of Israel.

"We have gathered today, members of the coop committee, the duck movement, and based on our historical right, we hereby declare the creation of the Duck State in Tel Aviv," Caspi declared.

The celebrations will continue today with a series of free performances at the Comfort 13 club in Tel Aviv, which will include Hemi Rudner, Shlomi Shaban, the Giraffes, Yoni Bloch and others.