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August 10, 2018  RSS feed

Text: T T T

Photo exhibit of Palestinians by Israeli to open at USF

Portraits from the exhibit “Miki Kratsman, People I Met,” 2010-2017. Portraits from the exhibit “Miki Kratsman, People I Met,” 2010-2017. An exhibit featuring thousands of photographs of anonymous Palestinians titled Miki Kratsman: People I Met, will be on display at the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum, from Aug. 20 through Dec. 8, and the award-winning photographer will be at USF for several events on Aug. 30 and 31.

For three decades, Kratsman, an Israeli photo journalist, has been one of the leading chroniclers of life in Palestinian territories. His photographs – many of them taken for the Israeli newspapers Hadashot and Haaretz – uncover personal stories and Israel’s military impact in the West Bank and Gaza.

While trying to answer the question –What happened to the people in the photographs?, – Kratsman amassed a vast archive of more than 9,000 portraits of Palestinians, which he first uploaded onto a dedicated Facebook page ( in 2011.

The USF Contemporary Art Museum will display the artist’s growing portrait archive, together with identifying commentary that, in some cases, serves as a literal proof of life – or death. People I Met continues the museum’s tradition of presenting challenging artwork with social content.

The exhibition also includes works from several other contemporaneous projects. These include photographic selections from Kratsman’s Bedouin Archive and his Displaced series, and table-top “panoramas” of “unrecognized” Arab villages the Israeli government has slated for demolition. The 2017 video titled 70 Meters... White Tshirt condenses a year of shooting in the Palestinian village of Nabi Sahli.

Kratsman was born in 1959 in Argentina and immigrated to Israel in 1971. From 1993 to 2012 his photographs appeared regularly in the newspaper Haaretz. From 2006 to 2014 he served as director of the Photography Department of Bezalel Academy of Arts, Jerusalem, where he continues to teach and lecture. Kratsman is the fifth recipient of the Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography, awarded by Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology.

Since 2004, he has been the chairman of the board of Breaking the Silence, a controversial organization of veteran Israeli combatants that collects testimonies from soldiers about their service in the Palestinian territories. Critics, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, say misinforms international audiences about the military and its activities. Last month, a new Israeli law barred the group from appearing at schools or speaking to students.

In 2011, he was the first photographer to win Israel’s Emet Prize for Science, Art and Culture, which includes a portion of a $1 million prize. Due to the political nature of his photographs, he said he was surprised when he won the Emet Prize, but is also proud to have won it.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the museum will present a conversation between Kratsman and the museum’s curator-at-large Christian Viveros-Fauné, a New York-based art critic, on Thursday, Aug. 30 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Oxford Exchange, 420 Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. Admission is $5 and those interested should RSVP to kratsman-0830. Kratsman will be signing the book The Resolution of the Suspect (Photographs by Miki Kratsman, Text by Ariella Azoulay), following the talk. The $5 ticket can be applied to the purchase of a book.

Kratsman and Viveros-Faune will also have a conversation about the People I Met exhibit on Friday, Aug. 31 from 6-7 p.m. at the museum’s concert hall. Following the talk there will be a reception for Kratsman at the museum from 7-9 that evening. The museum is located at 3821 USF Holly Drive.

Other events related to the exhibit will be held in October. For more information, visit or call (813) 974-4133.

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