Israeli Settlements

At first glance, the photos below do not scream controversy. They are the work of Israeli artist, Efrat Shvily, whose focus since the 1990s has been to capture uninhabited Israeli structures.

Shvily’s images appear to be void of context and at odds with their surroundings, as if they are architectural models or structures superimposed on the landscape. Also, the artist does not provide a caption in order to keep the photos ambiguous; it is unclear if the structures are abandoned, inhabited, or recently constructed.

What seems innocuous at first glance becomes politically charged–Israeli settlements are a constant source of political tension. Shvily, with a Master’s degree in political science, adeptly uses photography to call attention to the historically significant and conflictual relationship between Israelis and the land. As the fate of Israeli settlements remains uncertain, Shvily’s photographs continue to evolve and gain new meaning.


Efrat Shvily, B-95-6, from the New Homes in Israel and the Occupied Territories series, 1997 (186.2003)


Efrat Shvily, S-93-3, from the New Homes in Israel and the Occupied Territories series, 1997 (187.2003)


Efrat Shvily, I-92-1, from the New Homes in Israel and the Occupied Territories series, 1997 (188.2003)

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1 Response to Israeli Settlements

  1. Olga K. says:

    These are really interesting and thought provoking. I think the ambiguity of these photos is actually quite brilliant. Once I knew what they were, I immediately had an emotional reaction to them, but since the actual photos are neutral this reaction was entirely based on my own feelings on the subject… For me these are a hundred percent about viewer participation and getting that reaction so that the viewer can then think about why they are feeling this way.

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