Efrat Hakimi: Looking for a Village
The Lauren and Mitchell Presser Photography Award for a Young Israeli Artist, 2020
Efrat Hakimi takes the viewers of her exhibition on a fictional and documentary wandering. Her starting point is the disappearance of the village of Assamer in the High Atlas Mountains. The village was abandoned by its Jewish residents, and can’t be found on contemporary maps. The exhibition tells the story of the immigration to Israel of the village’s inhabitants, including Hakimi’s family.
In the absence of a family archive, Hakimi looked in public archives for documentation and testimony about a place that no longer exists. Her search leads her to ever-widening circles, with the personal story and the wider story becoming interwoven, taking in the political conditions of the period, including an important moment in the history of Moroccan photography. The exhibition moves in space and time, from the courtyard of the Sultan of Morocco at the beginning of the twentieth century to a village in the High Atlas, and travels to Israel by sea on the ship ‘Jerusalem’ in the middle of the 1950s, reaching the moshav of Shokeda in southern Israel. Hakimi creates an imperfect and fragmented biographical-geographical path, in which gaps in feminine and personal historiographies are slowly and gently revealed.
Hakimi examines the possibilities that arise from a wide range of photographic practices: straight photography contrasted with staged photography, moving images contrasted with stills photography, black & white photography contrasted with color photography, and more. These are not documentary works. They activate images, photographs and objects from the past in inventive ways, in order to tell a new story. In this way, the photographic relic from the past is made personal and relevant.
The exhibition was made possible with the support of: Artport, Tel Aviv; Asylum Arts, Brooklyn; Colgate University, Hamilton; Rosenfeld Gallery, Tel Aviv