ISRAEL21c’s online exhibition “The Guide to Hipster Israel” has proven a big hit with festival-goers in Serbia.

The exhibition was printed out and displayed by the Embassy of Israel in Serbia at two events: the 2019 Biennial of Artistic Children’s Expression (BUDI) Festival hosted by Israel in the city of Pančevo; and the five-day Food Planet 2020 in Novi Sad, where Serbians explored world cuisines.

Deputy Ambassador to Serbia Maayan Ben Tura, the embassy’s cultural attaché, tells ISRAEL21c that they are always on the lookout for fresh content explaining Israel in a way that speaks to a younger audience. Very often, ISRAEL21c fits the bill.

Children at the 2019 Biennial of Artistic Children's Expression (BUDI) Festival where ISRAEL21c’s “The Guide to Hipster Israel” exhibition was displayed. Photo courtesy of BUDI Festival
Children at the 2019 Biennial of Artistic Children’s Expression (BUDI) Festival where ISRAEL21c’s “The Guide to Hipster Israel” exhibition was displayed. Photo courtesy of BUDI Festival

The Hipster Israel exhibition, brought to her attention by the embassy’s press officer, Lana Erakovic, provides a vivid journey into Israeli youth culture: street art, tattoo artists, vintage fashion and indie bands.

“It was easy for us to print it here,” says Ben Tura. “This was the first time we had QR codes on an exhibition and it worked really well. People were scanning the barcode and crowding around looking at this attractive and colorful exhibition. It gave young people exposure to Israeli content in an interactive way.”

A poster in “The Guide to Hipster Israel” exhibition from ISRAEL21c.

She said people especially loved the cover image, urban artist Amit Shimony’s pop-art portrait of first Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. They could use the QR code to read ISRAEL21c’s article about the artist.

“The Guide to Hipster Israel” exhibition displayed at Food Planet 2020 in Novi Sad. Photo courtesy of the Embassy of Israel in Serbia

“In Serbia they really like the Israeli culture and arts scene,” says Ben Tura. “The role of a cultural attaché usually is to introduce people to the culture, but in this case sometimes they already know the culture. We even get requests to bring Israeli artists here, and we have an exceptionally popular Israeli film week in Belgrade and other cities.”

A poster in “The Guide to Hipster Israel” exhibition from ISRAEL21c.

Ben Tura has also relied on ISRAEL21c content to help local reporters find information and contacts in Israel.

The embassy recently arranged a Zoom meeting for a Serbian magazine that wanted to feature the Israeli webcomic “One of the Those Days” creators Yehuda and Maya Devir.

Ben Tura notes, “There’s something very similar about the attitudes of Israelis and Serbians. You know that Tel Aviv is the ‘White City’ and that is also what ‘Belgrade’ means. It all works well together.”

She would like to make a traveling exhibition out of “The Guide to Hipster Israel.”

“These days, when everything is online, tools like this are amazing to show people the diversity and beauty of Israel,” says Ben Tura. “This was a great tool for us and we’re hoping to use it again.”