Tel Aviv Showcases the Art of Israel’s Most Illustrious Illustrators

A sneak peek at some of the works to be displayed at the country’s first Illustration Week.

Israel’s first ever Illustration Week, to be held in Tel Aviv at the end of May, will feature selected works of the country’s top illustrators. For 10 days the public will be invited to visit and participate in dozens of exhibitions, workshops and meetings with local illustrators, some of whom are world famous. The events, most of which are free, will kick off on May 22 and will be wind down with an illustrators’ fair. Yuval Saar (a reporter at Haaretz) is the initiator and curator of The Illustration Week, which is being held in cooperation with the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality.

The illustrators’ works will be displayed at various locations all over Tel Aviv, among them, Jaffa Port, Tel Aviv Port, Rothschild Boulevard, the Eretz Israel Museum, Mazeh 9 social center for young residents, the Loveat café chain and more. Here are a sample of the works.

Ofra Amit, 47

“Somewhere Out There.” Part of a sequence of illustrations created for an exhibition at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem on the subject of “Journeys,” which runs there all along the walls of a room that leads to several other spaces of the exhibition. “This figure is repeated in various sizes and situations in all the illustrations,” explains Amit. “For me the journey is a sequence of change and internal development, and interactions of the character with things that happen to him along the way.”

Merav Salomon, 46

Untitled. An illustration from the book “Frostbite,” which was published in Germany. This illustration has a strong connection to the hero of the story “Struwwelpeter.” The connection to bestiality, German-ness, the place of the victim, brutality and grotesqueness. “The motif of the woman on all fours exists in all my books – something between a bitch and a cow and a pig and a table – it combines victimhood with sexual defiance,” she notes. “But at the same time it’s also a very comfortable position.”

Yaron Shin (Jewboy), 44

Untitled. An illustration created for a campaign for the Curtain Up Dance Festival. Instead of choosing a photographed image from one of the works at the festival, as is usually done, Shin decided to investigate the essence of the dance in illustration: an encounter of a body with a space, with another body, with an audience. “My assignment was to create a composition composed of several figures,” he explains. “I tried to do a choreography here with lines and dots, a graphic choreography. Dance on a page.”

Oded Ezer, 41

“Enterprise,” a frame from one typographic video out of eight in the series “Memory Palace,” which is now on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. “In this film you see me arranging parts of torn letters,” explains Ezer. “It’s a somewhat desperate attempt to find meaning in symbols that once had meaning and today are already strips of letters. It’s an attempt to create a text from parts that are already non-letters, a somewhat obsessive activity that tries to communicate, but of course has no chance of succeeding.”

Gabriella Barouch, 29

Untitled. An illustration she made for a calendar ordered by a Danish company. She was given a totally free hand, and because the illustration was meant to appear alongside the month of October, she decided to draw something a little wintry, falling leaves. “I work a lot from home, and at the time I felt like having a house. A kind of house that can come to you,” says Barouch.

Orit Bergman, 46

Untitled. An illustration she made for herself, part of a triptych of running animals with figures riding on them, on the sea, on land and in the air. A French publisher who saw the illustration ordered a book from her that she would write and illustrate with those figures.

Dana Shamir, 47

“A Red Medicine Against Worms.” An illustration from the series which describes Shamir’s childhood memories from kibbutz in the 1960s. “My grandmother was the kibbutz nurse,” notes Shamir, “and I remember that in our kindergarten they gave us all a red medicine against worms, and told us not to scratch our bottoms under any circumstances.”

Tamir Shefer, 50

“Who is Stupid.” For the past 12 years Shefer has been illustrating Dror Feuer’s column in the financial newspaper Globes, and this illustration was created as part of a cooperative project between the two and was published about eight years ago. “It was a socio-political column on the subject of insensitivity, the absurd situation in which we live, the insensitivity of the people and their unwillingness to see, to hear and to do, just like the three monkeys,” explains Shefer.

Asaf Ben Harosh, 36

“Jungle Jazz.” A work created at the request of jazzist Yoav Shlomov, to be used to market himself. He asked for a generic illustration, showing a guy playing an instrument in wild surroundings.

Tomer Hanuka, 40

“Perfect Storm.” The first illustration by an Israeli artist to be published on the cover of The New Yorker. The subject of the issue was Valentine’s Day, and it was published this February, just when there was a terrible storm in New York. “Almost by chance it turned out to be a metaphor about intimacy,” says Hanuka. “The apartments there are terribly hot, so that you walked around naked, and outdoors the world is getting covered with snow.”