On February 3, 2021, CEH Adult Education presented “Talking Walls – Israeli Street Art” with NOVA Shaliach Shy Ashkenazi. This is Shy’s second year as our local shaliach, or Israeli emissary. Shy has a B.A. in Education and Theater and has worked for over a decade as a singer-songwriter and recording artist, actor, writer, director and producer. He is uniquely qualified to share and explore Israeli street art.
As anyone who has traveled to Israel will recognize, the streets in Israel are where people and local culture meet on an everyday basis. Israeli graffiti is a powerful expression and communication vehicle – literally putting the writing on the wall. Shy shared multiple images of graffiti with us and we discussed the layers of meaning presented to the viewer. Some images were simple, others more elaborate. Some were commissioned by institutions or the government, others were painted by individuals either freehand or with stencils.
Through the images Shy displayed, we learned about political and social concerns in Israel as well as the different groups that are striving for change. We asked questions such as, “how does the government keep people from painting graffiti on ancient buildings or artifacts?” We also talked about the language, style, colors, and artistic expression that we saw. Through Shy’s presentation, we gained a greater appreciation for how street art is part of the public conversation.