"Doing Time in Holot", an Exhibition by Ron Amir
Ron Amir's exhibition "Doing Time in Holot" opened last month at the Israel Museum (curator: Noam Gal). As part of a broader ambition to put marginalized communities on the agenda, Ron chose to focus on the African refugees and asylum seekers and their communities, giving them a voice and a place in public discourse.
"All these communities are a part of this place, this country's scenery and character, and they are all a source of xenophobia, anger and frustration. Many of us choose, whether consciously or not, to think that they are a cause for some of our problem. This situation is very sad and worrying"
The exhibition consists of photographs and video works, all products of three years of work in which Ron documented the surroundings of the Holot detention facility in the Negev.
These documentations, realistic as they might be, do not pretend to depict a complete picture. In fact, the refugees and asylum seekers' absence from photographs sticks out. Nevertheless, this rare documentation allows the audience to get an idea, as slim as it may be, of the lives of the detainees in Holot.
"I wasn’t interested in documenting the facility itself. As time passed and my acquaintance with the asylum seekers community grew, I got to know the facility's surroundings. Private places that detainees built for all kinds of purposes."
People from many different backgrounds came to the exhibition's opening night. Human rights activists, people who are interested in art and representatives of the refugee and asylum seekers community, some of which had spent time in Holot.
The Holot's everyday routine that was presented around us made the atmosphere tense.
This, in turn, created a fertile ground for a deeper discourse on the condition of the community of asylum seekers in Israel.