Art and Struggle: Ethiopian Women Artists in Israel

By Tal Dekel.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The study analyses the work of 16 young women artists from the Ethiopian community in Israel who studied at leading art schools in the country. It focuses on the visual expressions through which these women battle the stigmatization and exclusion of the Ethiopian community and of them as artists - perceived as “others” in terms of race, profession and gender. Their art therefore serves as a dynamic interpretive arena in which urgent social issues are brought to bear. The study asks what representational methods do the artists employ to mollify the link between the color of their skin and the stigmatization of the Ethiopian community by Israeli society and what ideological discourse and artistic means do they employ to give visual expression to their objection to the stigmas attached to the Ethiopian community. The results indicate that the work of the majority of artists centers on the life of the Ethiopian community in the new country they arrived at, and that they are especially preoccupied with images of women. This self-exploration represents a rare form of reflection in which black people, perceived as the “object” of the hegemonic “gaze”, cast a probing look at their own culture. In this reality, artistic creation serves as a performative-visual journey that gives symbolic expression both to the ethno-gender identity of the artists as well as to the social system which shapes that identity.

Keywords: Race, Gender, Art, Naion-State

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 3, Issue 5, pp.43-52. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.578MB).

Dr. Tal Dekel

Adjanct Faculty Member, The Women and Gender Studies Program, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Teaches at the Women and Gender Studies Program at Tel Aviv University, Israel. Specializes in diverse aspects of modern art, focusing on issus of visual culture in relation to women, gender and multiculturalism.

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