Israeli anarchists sell art to cover legal costs
A group of anti-occupation activists is holding its first selling exhibition of works donated by Israeli and Palestinian artists
By Eyal Lavi. Web only
Published online: 22 August 2013
An Israeli anarchist group is holding its first art sale to cover its legal costs, and has received works donated by artists including Sigalit Landau. The group was inspired by charity sales held by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that have raised tens of thousands of dollars.
Israeli activists belonging to Anarchists Against the Wall, who oppose the building of barrier fences in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, are frequently detained by Israeli police and military. Although many of the lawyers representing them charge reduced fees, the anti-occupation activists have amassed legal bills of more than 1m shekels ($280,000).
The group, which already raises donations through its website, recently approached artists and galleries asking them to donate works for a selling exhibition, in return for 25% of the final sale price. Around 100 artists—including some that are well known internationally, such as Sigalit Landau, David Reeb and David Tartakover—have donated more than 150 works, with an average price of around $280. Although the artists were free to decide which works they wanted to donate, many of the pieces are explicitly political. Most of the works were donated by Israeli artists, but the show also includes pieces by Palestinian activists-cum-artists who started their careers photographing demonstrations in their villages.
The sale follows the success of similar initiatives. In May, an exhibition organised by the Israeli branch of Physicians for Human Rights held a sale of art that made more than $100,000. Another NGO, Workers’ Advice Center, has been organising art sales for the past seven years and provided the model for Anarchists Against the Wall’s exhibition.
In contrast to other non-profit groups, however, Anarchists Against the Wall has no legal status “as a matter of principle”. Kobi Snitz, one of the organisers, says that in order to handle the sale, a sponsorship arrangement has been set up with the Israeli NGO Coalition of Women For Peace and the US-based Alliance for Global Justice. Snitz said they are hoping to raise $50,000 through the sale and make it an annual event.
The exhibition is being held at Minshar art school in Tel Aviv and opens to the public on 29 August. Works can also be bought online.
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