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Base Camp Balata, an exhibition at The Spitz Gallery London until 31 July

From: JJ
Category: Exhibitions
Date: 27 July 2005


Assuming that all people of Jewish origin are zionist is a bit like assuming all people of Chinese origin are supporters of Chinese State Communism (or whatever it's called). That's an aside. But it's annoying that Jewish people's views on Israel are often discounted as biased and not worth listening to.

Base Camp Balata presents an exhibition of photographs by children in the West Bank.

I found no particular beauty or originality in these photos. It is often assumed that children will always produce interesting art, by virtue of them being innocent of artistic conventions, and this is sometimes seen in drawings by children of certain ages, yet I think the use of the impersonal camera has masked the children's individuality. Or perhaps the editing of the photos, seemingly selected for their resemblance to adult photo-journalism, has had this effect. Another possibility is that they lead lives of such utter misery as to extinguish their childish vision.

The show presents the photos with captions explaining them. The captions mostly say things like "after the occupation forces have finished their sweep" or "wall showing posters of martyrs" (I quote very loosely from memory). These do not sound like children's words. The captions explain away whatever remaining interest one might have had in the photos. The children's work now seems like only a means of making the political point (a worthy one perhaps) of the adults. And this seems an unnecessary exploitation. Just take the photos, say what you want to say, but lets not pretend. That's for kids.

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