An exhibition featuring photographs of 14 women from the group by Michael Topyol and Miri Davidovitz opened in Tel Aviv on Sunday.
Topyol photographed the women right before the coronavirus lockdown began and Davidovitz photographed them about two years ago. In the photos, they gaze calmly into the camera, smiling and holding up baskets they made, but behind each woman in the pictures hides a story and great sadness.
One of the women is Lina Otom Jak Agolon, who came to Israel 11 years ago from Sudan. “She is our model,” says Ruth Garon, the collective’s marketing director. “She manages the collective’s shop and is the ‘beauty manager.’ She has an amazing sense of aesthetics and she is responsible for combining the African fabrics.”
Another woman photographed by Topyol is Chrisy Ewan. She is pictured wrapped in colorful cloth. Ewan is not a refugee, but rather comes from a Jamaican family that converted to Judaism. She has a master’s degree in social work and volunteers with the collective.
Also in the photographs is Hiyab, a 5-year-old girl holding Kuchinate dolls. She is the daughter of Meron Weldu, whose journey to Israel was harrowing and included being imprisoned by Bedouin. She doesn’t want to talk about what happened to her along the way.
“Portrait of a Woman,” 26 Gordon Street, Tel Aviv, Monday through Thursday noon to 5:00 P.M., Friday and Saturday 11 A.M. to 2 P.M.