Thursday evening students stepped into the Contemporary Art Museum a little wet from the storm outside but with a lot of anticipation for the event. CAM hosted a curator’s tour of the new fall exhibition; Miki Kratsman: People I Met, offered by Deputy Director of CAM Noel Smith and Curator of Education Leslie Elsasser.
Miki Kratsman is an activist, photojournalist and artist who spent three decades photographically chronicling people in the Israeli-occupied territories for the Israeli newspapers Hadashot and Haaretz. Later, as an artist Kratsman asked himself “what happened to people in his archive of personal press clippings?” Kratsman began to re-photograph many of the images from his own press prints and each individual was enlarged as their own portrait. Initially, Kratsman’s archive of two thousand portraits of anonymous Palestinian portraits was uploaded to a Facebook page with one simple question; “what happened to this person?” In continuation of the project, Kratsman uploads one to two portraits daily, expanding the online collection to the current five thousand images. Christian Viveros-Fauné has written that Marcel Duchamp stated, “creativity is making the invisible, visible”, in relation to Kratsman’s archive of portraits, which gives visibility by bringing people from the background into the light.
At the Contemporary Art Museum, the exhibit features more than two thousand portraits from his living archive, in addition to his Displaced series, which includes five full body portraits of Bedouin peoples, hung next to table-top sculpture “panoramas” of undocumented Bedouin villages. In 2016, Kratsman also took a year’s worth of footage and created a 17:24 minute video from the protest in the Palestine village of Nabi Salih called 70 Meters… White T-Shirt.
By the end of the tour, students and guests gathered an understanding about the humanitarian issue Kratsman conveys through his photography and the importance behind the images. If you have some free time, come visit this exhibition before December 8th to get the full experience Kratsman designs for his audience.
College of Arts & Sciences
University of South Florida