When Gidon Agaza was 11 years old he immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia with his parents. When he was a young boy he bought a semi-professional camera and began photographing portraits of people in his close environment and different events. After he completed his military service he studied photography at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. He decided to focus on photographing his community and documenting its integration into local society, and even set up a private photography archive.
In his photographs Agaza seeks to uncover that which is hidden behind the scenes. He wishes to document authentic and special moments within the familiar events of the establishment, often choosing non-routine photographic angles. Most of his pictures in this exhibit were taken during the traditional Sigad festivities which take place annually in Jerusalem. Sigad is one of the Beta Israel holydays, which takes place fifty days after Yom Kippur. It is a day of fasting, purification, and renewal, focused on the ceremony of renewal of the covenant between the people of Israel and God. The ceremony takes place on the top of a high mountain, symbolizing Mount Sinai, and is performed by the community's high priests.
The black-and-white photographs are staged and through them the photographer seeks to revive the memory of the grueling way to the Land of Israel, while the photographs in reddish-brown colors were taken from television programs: pictures of Ethiopia - brown shadows against the background of a memorial screen and longings which take him back to the pastoral life of the village and his childhood domains.
Curator: Ada Naamani
Closes: April 29, 2015