*2292

About   What's New

Net +30 - New Online exhibition at the Azrieli Gallery

01/18/2021 | Taly Kayam

We suddenly realized that something was happening: stories were flooding in. Yes, they were written in Hebrew, but they were speaking in another tongue, telling a different exposed narrative that sought the light of day for many long years. More and more immigration stories were accumulating, words were found for the pain, and what began as an action by individuals became a movement, a stream of emotional revelations with numerous participants expressing individual feelings which simultaneously resonated as collective emotions.

The current exhibition is a response to this phenomenon. We did not initiate the sharing of “aliyah stories” of immigration to Israel - but were unable to remain apathetic in its face – the Facebook groups, poetry evenings, artworks, and personal stories with the hashtag #My_aliyah_story in the online community "Russian Ladies Without a Sense of Humor" – all attempting to express, reflect, and formulate the sensations and experiences of the men and women who emigrated from the former Soviet Union to Israel.

As we were preparing the exhibition, we wondered, “Why now? Why 30 years later?” We could think of many reasons, from the current discourse on political identities creating a more open atmosphere for various groups to talk about the insensitivity towards them, to the fact that many new immigrants arrived in the country as children with their parents and are now parents themselves. Perhaps it is the result of the maturation of processes and the new possibilities offered by social media, or maybe just a coincidence. Be that as it may, we cannot deny that there is a community here, a culture, women and men who are demanding ownership of their aliyah stories.

The wave of immigration from the former Soviet Union is unique in many aspects and differs from all of the other waves of mass immigration to Israel. It stands out in its huge scope, its characteristics, and the absorption processes, but also especially in the way in which it changed the face of Israeli society. It seems that hardly any Israelis remain untouched by this immigration, whether it’s the new kid in the classroom, one’s neighbours in the building, or new employees in the workplace…These are people who arrived here out of the blue one fine day (which was probably too hot for them), and who looked a bit different to the “average Israeli.” Some extended a helping hand, others stood by, and still others made the newcomers’ lives miserable. We are also part of this story, three of us curators in our thirties, one who immigrated to Israel and the other two who grew up here along with the generation of new immigrants, who are mostly external to the immigration story.

This wave of immigration relates the narrative of the entire Israeli society: a society of immigrants, only 1.5 generations old, always engaged in origins, in the past, in multilayered identity and in its location within the whole and in relation to it. There is no single, uniform story, but one which is primarily developing and constantly changing.

Net +30 is an attempt to reflect the broad spectrum of viewpoints and narratives tracing the personal and collective journey of immigration to Israel and the processes of absorption into Israeli society. This is a journey with a starting point, but no end point. The journey is daily and routing, sometimes forgotten, while at other times flowing along but screaming out. The exhibition seeks to examine the question: Where do we now stand - more than 30 years later?

About Azrieli Gallery
Visit Net+30 Online