Thursday, September 9, 2010

Spray Paint and Stencils in Jerusalem's Old City

When I was walking through Jerusalem's Old City this past July-early August, I was intrigued by the bright spray paint and stencil work I saw. One of the reasons was the juxtaposition of modern, sometimes flouro, spraypaint with the old white(ish) stones of Jerusalem's Old City. Another reason is that some of these images were of trees, and I'm studying tree-cult in my PhD, so I tend to collect tree images (check these out). In fact, speaking of trees, there is a really interesting book on the use of trees within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict called 'Planted Flags' by Irus Braverman (Cambridge 2009). OK, obviously these examples here are probably political, being Arabic (which I cannot read), or else records of the Haj - and I was after all, staying in the Muslim Quarter. I'm not, however, meaning to insult any of my darling Jewish and Israeli friends or associates by exhibiting these photos. This is simply my record of an aesthetic reaction to colour and shape, and the surprise of it being on what I might consider 'heritage' buildings. (If you want to see the Magen David in spray paint, go and look at my Israel and Jordan photos on my Facebook site.) Yes, us tourists do, no doubt, expect Jerusalem to be all ye-oldey Biblical and not have any modern concerns or behaviours jutting in to awaken us from verging on Jerusalem Syndrome - I certainly do... But good luck with that, because it is 2010 - even in Jerusalem's Old City.