As recent events demonstrate, Israel and its surrounding territories have been an area of contention and dispute since the country’s establishment in 1948.

In this timely and highly relevant exhibition, Yaakov Israel takes us on a geographical and metaphorical journey across this complex land, offering one man’s view- point of the nation that shares his name.

The exhibition’s title was inspired by a chance encounter with a Palestinian man who rode past whilst Yaa- kov was photographing near the Dead Sea. The photographer says, ‘It was only after developing the photo- graphic plate that I realised I had encountered my ‘Messiah’: in Orthodox Jewish tradition, the Messiah (the Prophet) will arrive riding on a white donkey’.

Yaakov’s large scale meticulously detailed images encourage us to appreciate the multi-faceted political and social state of this contested region, offering us a highly personal insight into spaces often overlooked by the world’s media. His images evoke an incomplete utopia: an abandoned, overgrown swimming pool in the Northern Judean Desert indicates long standing neglect, whilst a disconcerting armed presence at the Dead Sea Hilton reveals the tension now commonplace in this landscape of uncertainty. Yaakov’s images are filled with allusions to barriers, both physical and metaphoric, which serve as a constant reminder of the unsettled and indeterminate nature of the country itself.

Elsewhere, Yaakov reveals the peace and tranquility that also exists, with images of everyday occurances such as gathering herbs in Haifa, or a moment of solitude bathing in the Sea of Galilee. These sights appear so idyllic one would be forgiven for not realising that beyond the frame, a deep-seated conflict rages on.

Exhibition courtesy of Margaret Street Gallery, London.

Free Artist Talk with Yaakov Israel Saturday 16 February 2013, 2pm to 3pm
Free Artist Reception with Yaakov Israel Saturday 16 February 2013, 3pm to 4pm

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