Art in a Time of War

VISUAL ART

Artistic expression is booming in Israel. Many have said that if you’re not in milium (army reserve duty), you’re probably creating something. Israeli artists of all disciplines have used their art as a way to take action, they’ve used their art to tell the stories of individuals, as calls for political action (both in Israel and abroad), as a means of escape, as a way to remember and to foster unity, and so much more.

HOW TO USE THESE RESOURCES

This collection of resources highlights the creativity that has come alive across Israel since October 7. As you explore them, we encourage you to use these questions and conversation prompts to spark discussion and engagement with any of the stories or art pieces.

QUESTIONS TO EXPLORE

1. What’s one idea or perspective that is new to you?

2. Do you notice any recurring colors or symbols? And if so, do you think they are significant?

3. If you were talking to a friend, how would you describe these pieces of art?

4. What is one question you’d like to ask one of the artists?

5. Do you think one image is worth a thousand words? Why or why not?

6. What do you want to explore further?

DESIGN INITIATIVES

For a more in-depth exploration of this resource, explore The iCenter’s “Design Duty: Artists as Activists

This platform serves as a channel for graphic artists in Israel to articulate the pain, anger, shock, and sadness experienced on October 7 and its aftermath. Many moving and poignant works were disseminated across social networks swiftly and organically, transforming them into informative tools and a medium for expressing solidarity. New images are uploaded regularly as the situation evolves.

View Design Duty Illustrations

Wrapping Memory is an initiative by the Department of Visual Communication at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design Jerusalem. This project aims to capture and commemorate the beauty of the region of the Gaza Envelope as it was before the tragic morning of October 7 through works of art. All funds raised from the sale of the designs will be used to support residents of the Gaza Envelope.

View Wrapping Memory Artwork

Post a Smile was created to give people expressions of hope during these challenging times. 

View Post a Smile Images

Women: Heroines & War is a compilation of images and stories of women who have performed heroic acts. Each story is accompanied by an image created by a female designer. The site accepts stories from the public and encourages the posting of images and stories.

View Women: Heroines of War Images

October 31, 2023

The Instagram page Names and Faces (@namesandfaces.il) was created to give a voice, a name, and a face to many of those impacted by the events of October 7.

Review Lilith Magazine’s “Picturing Those Who Were Taken”

ARTISTS IN ACTION

January 20, 2024

Since October 7, the illustrator and humorist known as Shoshke has turned to drawing a pseudo-naive version of the day’s stories

Read “Artist Zeev Engelmayer’s Daily Postcards Bring Solace With Colorful Realism” from Times of Israel

Established in 1906, Bezalel is Israel’s preeminent academic institution for art, design, and architecture—pioneering originality, creativity, and innovation. After the events of October 7, Bezalel joined in a variety of voluntary actions to support the troops, civil society, and the home front.

Read about Bezalel Academy of Arts

January 5, 2024

The New York Jewish Museum presents a new exhibit of 12 drawings created by renowned Israeli artist Zoya Cherkassky in response to the Hamas attacks. The colorful but violent and gut-wrenching works are inspired in part by Pablo Picasso’s renowned “Guernica,” which he painted to show the world the violence and inhumanity during the Spanish Civil War. 

Read “At the Jewish Museum, Gut-Wrenching Drawings Depict the Terror of the Oct. 7 Hamas Attack on Israel” from JTA

December 26, 2023

Aiming to bring light at a particularly dark time, illustrators depict Gaza border communities before they were ravaged by Hamas.

Read “Artists Illustrate Reactions to Oct. 7 at Jerusalem’s Outline Festival” from Times of Israel

December 14, 2023

Zeev Engelmayer, a prominent Israeli artist, draws the traumas of Oct. 7 in a jarring, surreal, and childlike visual language, capturing the nation’s pain.

Read “The Israeli Nightmare Finds Its Illustrator” from Tablet

December 12, 2023

Nassima-Landau, an art space established to renew the Tel Aviv art scene after the Covid lockdown, is trying to help again, this time auctioning Israeli artworks to raise funds for Gaza border communities.

Read “Art Auction Seeks to Aid Kibbutz Gallery, Gaza Borders Teens” from Times of Israel

December 11, 2023

Or Gadol’ exhibit of 98 artworks by 75 artists at the Jaffa Port includes well-known names alongside younger creatives from the south reacting to the devastating Hamas attacks.

Read “Artist’s Anxieties About Gaza Rise to Surface in October 7 Exhibit” from Times of Israel

November 29, 2023

Israel’s war against Hamas pushes local graffiti artists to commemorate the fallen and abducted as they try to share a message of hope.

Read “Picture on the Wall: Tel Aviv’s Changing Graffiti Scene Amid War” from Ynet

November 21, 2023

Free Our Kids IL and artist Yamb0x.eth collaborate on Walls of Hope street paintings in Tel Aviv’s Florentin neighborhood.

Read “Street Artists Paint Tel Aviv Wall Murals About Child Hostages” from Times of Israel

October 22, 2023

Design schools Bezalel and Shenkar ramp up volunteer teams to customize gear for troops and reservists. Click here to watch a video from Shenkar about their work.

Read “Designers Sew for Combat Soldiers, Pivoting From Fashion To Function” from Times of Israel

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