Even though money and infrastructure for art and culture is not flooding, an independent initiative of Jerusalem-based artists (Lee he Shulov and Rinat Edelstein) opens since 9 years the exhibition season with the Manofim Festival.
The festival manages to create a platform of dialogue and collaboration between artists and Jerusalem’s galleries, alternative art spaces and independent cultural centres. In it’s unique way, Manofim gives the public an impressive insight into the rich and mixed art world of Jerusalem.
Already the opening is a surprise.
A long local food buffet, made by the famous Old City Acrmavi Chef, creates a welcoming and warm atmosphere, followed by a concert of a Jewish singer-songwriter, Ziv Yehezkel, performing and reinventing classical Arabic music.
All the week these surprises go on. : Free beer, free drinks and food, open talks with the artists in their studio or during a conference, and many others. These gestures make the audience feel home in the artistic environment, which becomes much more approachable. We find here a new intimacy created between the art world and the public.
Among the activities that rhythm the festival there are exhibition openings, concerts, outdoor workshops, tours to experience graffiti, poetry and alternative urbanism (with the Muslala). Secular and religious, Arabs and Jews, men and women, specialists and non-specialists in the field of art come together for a week. The organizers are down to earth, and socialize with the public, something that might be part of the secret of the intimacy of Manofim.
Cruising around with the free shuttle service organized by Manofim or with the bicycle, you discover art and culture in Jerusalem at places where no regular tourist has ever been, and that even locals sometimes don’t know. Among others: The Hansen House, The Art Cube Artists’ Studio, Studio of Her Own…
One special event of the festival should be mentioned: “Stories made by God”. a night of cultural exchange on Asael Street, a street on the Green Line marking an invisible border between Palestinian and Israeli homes. This evening people open their houses to meet and exchange on art and life. Locals tell their story and give the opportunity to have an insight in who they are through their homes.
A very intense week. (For more information look at: http://manofim.org/en/)
But Manofim does not stop there: the group also runs a trio-lingual website, gathering all informations about events and exhibitions in Jerusalem and giving out a monthly newsletter as well as an online art magazine (in Hebrew): http://manofim.org/harama/
Photographer: Dor Kedmi (www.dorkedmi.com)