“Let the world see the openness of Israel,” wrote one participant. Fortunately, mostly positive press dominates the Naked Sea photoshoot, which took place on private property along the shores of the salty lake.
Prior to the Spencer Tunick photo shoot at the Dead Sea this Saturday, international coverage of the famed artists latest installation was as barren as the landscape surrounding the world’s lowest point. Now that the Naked Sea project went off without a stitch, the world outside of Israel is reacting. And that’s good news for the Middle East’s only democracy.
Tunick has insisted from the onset that his intention was to raise awareness of the plight of the Dead Sea. Shrinking on one end because of decreased fresh water flow, and being stripped of its minerals on the other, the lake may dry up by the middle of this century. His full frontal coverage of 1000+ naked Israelis seen floating on the water or standing on the shoreline that once was part of the lake has brought many to appreciate this rarified natural wonder.
Thanks to Tunick, the international community is also focused on the humane side of Israel, a place usually beleaguered by the press.
The AFP reported:
For Ari Frucht, who initiated the project and has toiled over its preparations for the past four years, a work by Spencer Tunick could help raise awareness of the sea’s condition and galvanize Israel’s government into action.
He believes there is another aspect, too, to the Jewish state hosting such a shoot.
“The world needs to know that Israelis are not religious extremists,” he said ahead of the event.
The Vancouver Sun had this to say:
For Tunick, a Jewish American who has arranged naked human bodies over prominent landscapes and landmarks ranging from a Swiss glacier to the Sydney Opera House, a nude installation is an indicator of a host country’s openness.
“In some places the work is a little bit more controversial, and then in other places the works are accepted as a litmus test for how free a country is, or how open a country is, and how full of rights a country is,” he told a press briefing.
“For me, a country that allows the nude in art, in public space is some place that’s very progressive, very open, and very caring, and very dignified.”
Many news agencies including the AP, TIME, Washington Post, CBSNews and Sydney Morning Herald spotlighted Tunick’s praise for Israel “as the only country in the Middle East with the freedom for one of his trademark nude shoots.” Many also highlighted that the location, kept secret until the 11th hour, was very close to the fabled Biblical towns of Sodom and Gomorrah.
At the time of this article, Reuters, an agency often criticized for it’s especially negative press coverage on Israel, had not yet posted anything about this weekend’s successful art exposure. Outside of Israeli press, Middle East news coverage was also limited.
Not surprisingly, the DailyMail covered the morning events from a distance, far enough to take photos of the models and the planes and ultra-light aircraft trying to sneak a peak. Please read “Isn’t it a bit chilly?” for the full photo spread.
Despite some religious protest and threats from the local municipality to block Tunick because of perceived inappropriateness of that many nude Israelis posing in a public landmark, private accounts – including a first-hand description here on Greenprophet – of those in attendance describe the Zen-like experience in the early morning hours of the Naked Sea art project.
“Today I feel refreshed and inspired by what we all have done. As Israelis, tourists, as concerned citizens of the world,” wrote Alex Gutman, the participant who gave an exclusive first hand account to Greenprophet.
“Let the world see the openness of Israel. The freedom we enjoy is twisted around by those such as the ones at the Durban conference. Why are we being isolated? Why are we being accused of racism? Apartheid? If anyone wants to take a look at real Apartheid, they should go to Saudi Arabia, where Jews are not even allowed to visit. Where women are second class citizens. Let the news of this great event be spread around the world.”
:: Daily Mail
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