Where Old Meets The New
Of all the things I envisioned doing in Israel – from floating in the Dead Sea to visiting the historic Western Wall – one thing I didn’t remotely anticipate was to wind up defacing public property. Yet here I am, feeling like a rebel, with a can of light pink spray paint in my right hand in the back streets of Tel Aviv – in broad daylight to boot.
Let me rewind a bit. This wasn’t my idea. It all started innocently enough under the guise of a graffiti tour through the artsy Florentin neighbourhood. After seeing some impressive pieces and learning about different types of street art such as site-specific murals that incorporate structural elements of a building, like an exterior cable or a pipe into the design, our tour guide and Tel Aviv-based musician, Maor Abitbul, opened his backpack and proceeded to pass out cans of spray paint. “Now it’s your turn,” he says.
One by one, everyone on the tour quite literally started leaving their mark on Tel Aviv. Suddenly, our amateur creative process was interrupted by a family who had witnessed our mischief. But rather than stopping us, they asked to borrow a can of spray paint and we watched on as their young daughter stepped up to the wall to continue our masterpiece.
In all honesty, it was a practice wall for artists so no damage or vandalism was done, but looking back on it now, it’s one of the experiences that made my first visit to the country so memorable. Before parting ways with the group, Abitbul showed us a piece he created that displays a lyric from one of his songs under the name JIGI: “You are always welcome.”
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