Video by: Barak Heymann
New Israel Fund views arts and culture as an essential element of social change. We know that social change requires inspiration, imagination and creativity. The arts are essential work. Artists are essential workers - for our movements, for society, for democracy and for all of our souls.
The Coronavirus crisis has hit people across the globe in different and devastating ways. In Israel we have seen known inequities and government corruptions brought to the forefront by the virus. With the generous support of the Nathan Cummings Foundation and others, New Israel Fund has been able to enable work on behalf of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups while also working to protect democratic norms and institutions. We know that artists in Israel have been hit hard by the virus and economic crises - with no clear end in sight.
Why is art essential right now?
We are grateful for the opportunity to make 14 Essential Arts support grants to artists and creators who work with courage and creativity.
“I am trying to plant seeds from the Ethiopian and Israeli cultures to grow a new musical tree, fresh and unapologetic, even if it means talking about unpopular topics.”
“In my films I try to present communities in a different, non-monolithic way, that will inspire new thinking on topics that we think we know well, and to bring a certain hope through the possibility of a change in thought and action.”
Ellyott Ben Ezer
“I am Ellyott, a musician, singer, DJ, teacher, soundtrack composer and radio host. I began my journey in 1989 with my band “Pollyanna Frank” and I was the first artist in Israel that happily identified in the media as a lesbian.”
“For me, writing is an opportunity to repair and an uncontrollable need to create a world, perhaps the only world in which my heart can be truly open.”
“My creations for Beta Dance Group meet between western modern dance and traditional Ethiopian dance in a form that combines the two without enslaving one to the other.”
“In south Tel Aviv I feel comfortable amidst all the cultural mishmash that exists here, suddenly I’m not special, not different for being Arab. I’m still not the mainstream but I feel like an other among others and this comes across in my works.”
“Together with ‘Public Movement’ I deeply investigate the choreographies of resistance from within experience and thought about the establishment and realization of solidarity and civil consciousness.”
“We named our last play ‘Illegal Person’ because it presents the refugee, the asylum seeker, as they are in Israel: as a person who cannot dream, plan their life, think about the future because they are outside of the law and outside of time.”
“In the days that violence against women minorities in overflowing and polarization is growing, I tend to believe that artists must take a side and to fill their historic role, which is to stand at the city gates and to ceaselessly shout out what is in their hearts.”
“I create political art with the goal to expose black holes in the Israeli reality.”
“The people I photograph, who come from the periphery of Israel without any prior experience in front of a camera, undergo an experience with me and earn money and I, as an artist, learn something new from them with each film I create.”
Ram Mizrahi Spinoza
“As a Jew from an observant, Halabi home, my creation is entirely dedicated to the Arabic language and culture, meeting between cultures and allowing people to imagine a different future of “us” and of a sense of belonging. ”
“I see film as a powerful tool to inspire significant social dialogue and to give voice to those who do not receive a platform in public discourse.”
“The dialect of the Jewish Moroccan women, in which I sing and which I have been studying for years, perfectly matches my hybrid identity as a woman rooted in the cultural seam between Hebrew, Latin and Arabic- between East and West.”