NEW YORK—Sponsored by a gallery that was founded the year Israel achieved independence, a poster and photograph exhibit emblematic of the colorful and dramatic history of the Jewish state coincides with its 64th birthday.

The Jewish National Fund (JNF), in conjunction with the Israeli Consulate, is displaying the “Made in Israel 2012” exhibit at the JNF national headquarters in New York City through the end of April. Sponsoring the display is the Farkash Gallery in Old Jaffa (Tel Aviv), one of Israel’s oldest art resources. The gallery was founded in 1948 and has one of the country’s premier collections of vintage posters and photographs.

The iconic posters of the JNF exhibit promote culture, holidays, and politics, tracing the history of the State of Israel through its popular images. With pictures of simple advertisements for the earliest products manufactured in the Jewish state, the exhibit transforms items such as milk, bread, coffee and cleanser into objects of art. Tourism and travel destinations, both within Israel and abroad, are colorfully portrayed. Vibrant images of soldiers and sailors, and colorful works reminding and encouraging holiday celebration—especially of Independence Day—are prominently featured.

Frequently portraying children—even in disconnected situations such as paint or textile advertisements—the JNF posters convey the “children can do no wrong” psychology of Israel’s first generation.

Speaking at the gala opening of the exhibit last month, Israel’s Consul General in New York, Ido Aharoni, remarked on the images of children and young Israelis in many of the exhibit’s displays. 

“They are the hope,” he said, adding that they “represent the future.”

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Jack Rennert, an internationally recognized expert on poster art, told JointMedia News Service that the JNF posters “should be considered historical, a documentary reflecting the hope and aspirations of a new country.” He expressed admiration of the Farkash Gallery for “preserving the art.”

“Posters have the same function in an old country or a new country—to attract attention and move people, to sell ideas, both political and commercial,” Rennert said.

“To bring Israel poster art to the American public is to be commended,” he added.

In addition to the posters, the JNF exhibit includes an array of photos and newspapers. Portraying Israel at a time of simplicity, the photos show the immigrant emergence from the depths of Europe’s conflagration to the joy in the eyes of a young moshavnik as she carries her bouquet of carnations. A photo taken in the immigrant camp of Bet Lid shows a big sister, perhaps old enough to remember the war years, bathing her little brother in a metal basin outside his family’s tent. One wonders what became of the child, who today would be a man in his mid-60s.

Russel Robinson, CEO of JNF, called the exhibition “a lovely visual experience…an insight into Israel entrepreneurship and a window into the life and culture of the country.”

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