Ajami, the Face of Darkness

Photographs, Yaakov Ajami


The Jaffa neighbourhood of Ajami - a place of contrast and opposites, neglect and beauty, affluence and poverty, different communities.

Yaakov Elad went off to explore the neighbourhood at night. He found a plethora of lights in Ajami, as if in a jumbled heap, like neighbourhood itself. This can be easily seen in his work. The multitude of sources of light in the photographs is one of the most beautiful and unique aspects of his work.

Will darkness temper the contrasts, will it bridge the disparities in the neighborhood, will it presence the common human element, or will it provoke and underscore the pulsating tension? The ugly plastic chairs and shutters (in one of the photographs) makes the darkness less prominent vis-à-vis the stylized staircase (in another). Sitting and rest, coming home - these are things that everyone shares. But the dramatics of the photographs attests to something bubbling under the surface which is not seen directly.

On his numerous visits to Ajami, Elad made friends with the residents, but at the same time was often confronted byhostile response. Which response had more effect, if at all, on the photographs? The night has its own rules.

Ajami at night. Yaakov Elad looks at the neighborhood at eye level. He sees the full spectrum among the spots of light and darkness, and at the same time follows his own face as photographer.


Curator: Kinneret Palti

Closes 19 January, 2017