The ridge in on Jerusalem’s hills known as Givat Ram is home to some of Israel’s most important national institutions. These include the Knesset, Israel Museum, Supreme Court and the National Library, located on the Givat Ram campus of the Hebrew University.
Givat Ram wasn’t the University’s original location. The Mount Scopus campus was inaugurated in 1925 but during the 1948 War of Independence, the student population was moved to safer locations within the city. Ten years later, the Givat Ram campus was completed; it remained the University’s central location until 1978 when the Mount Scopus campus reopened. With that, Givat Ram because University’s secondary campus, home of the Faculty of Sciences whose students continue to enjoy its green lawns, shady trees and peaceful atmosphere.
Photographer Dana Arieli knows the Givat Ram campus well, having studied and worked there for over 20 years. Between 2010 and 2013, however, Arieli decided to look at Givat Ram through a different lens – that of her camera. The resulting photographic study, “Closer than they Appear: Givat Ram”, is now on exhibit at the Jerusalem Artists House.
The exhibition catalogue states, “From the National Natural History Collection, to the library halls, the gardens and the campus rooftops, she encountered a once-familiar environment made as if to commemorate the inherent tension between essence and appearance.”
“Inaugurated in 1958, the campus was situated near the gateway to the capital, at a safe distance from the troubled eastern side of the city where Mount Scopus stood. Clearly, it was modeled after the Garden City movement, while it also incorporated flat ‘International Style’ buildings, garden walkways and greenery. It was in great variance with the improvised solution of the time: the transitory buildings scattered throughout the city and the National Library in the Terra Sancta building on the edge of Rehavia.”
“Situated on the edge of the “National [Government] Quarter”, built on the ruins of the Arab village Sheikh Badr, maintaining its detachment was and still is a difficult task: both physically and politically.”
“The photographs in this exhibition present a first-ever attempt to visually contend with the totality of the Hebrew University on Givat Ram.”
There will be a gallery talk with artist Dana Arieli and curator Ariel Caine about the exhibition “Closer than they Appear: Givat Ram” on Saturday 25.5.2013 at 12:00 pm at the Jerusalem Artists House. For more information: www.art.org.il