Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Hidden Portraits - the ad I should not be writing about

OK first a disclaimer - this post is not one I should be writing as our neighbors' issues are none of my concern, we have enough issues in Lebanon thank you very much.

But do you remember Marie France and what happened in 2010? A refresher is here. Also you might not be aware or forgot this but we too had serious defacing. Where? Someone was defacing - as in literally painting over all "faces" - of the graffiti sprayed in town (this went down in 2013) below is a selection of the spoiled artworks in question:

Also, certain ads appeared censored in Lebanon in some areas and not so in others. I am thinking of a specific ad where the contours of the body of a woman were plastered but exposed in a different version, but sadly cannot find it in my archives. Long story short, this brings us to Hidden Portraits.

For more than a decade, more than 3000 women in Jerusalem have seen their images defaced on public billboards – their faces scratched out, spray painted, covered with graffiti, and in extreme cases even burned down, typically by ultra-orthodox extremists who believe women shouldn’t be seen in public. It doesn’t matter who the women are – politicians, nurses and actors have all seen themselves erased from the city streets.

Together with JCDecaux (the largest outdoor advertising company in the world), the Israel Women’s Network, Cloudfactory, Adler Chomski and Blue Oyster Media have launched a citywide campaign, featuring a mosaic image of male international actor (and star of Netflix hit Fauda), Tsahi Halevi, made out of the portraits of thousands of women who were defaced over the years.

The imagery says "look closer". And by looking closer people will see what was banned, defaced or indeed burned. As I said, the two examples above - Marie France and the graffiti - could simply tell you that the problem can be faced in many countries and regions of the world. Ours included.

So yes, the idea that someone is doing something about it is comforting.