Mahogany, 2003, seven digital color prints, perspex, PVC and aluminum, from a series of 11, 165 x 120 each, courtesy of Yaffa Braverman Collection, Tel Aviv
David Adika's photographs are imbued by a poetic, melancholic atmosphere. This series is part of a body of staged works characterized by elegant sensuality and stunning beauty. This series includes 11 photographs of carved African figurines; displayed in many Israeli homes during the 1960s, such figurines served as souvenirs from what was perceived to be a region of quintessential otherness. Each one of the photographs features a single figurine - an elephant, giraffe, deer, African woman carrying a jug on her head and so forth - folkloric objects that Adika's father brought home from his trips to Africa. Adika's mother lovingly assembled them into a "collection," which was displayed in the living room glass cabinet as a representation of an exotic, faraway world. The figurines were photographed with dramatic lighting against a black ground, enlarged to iconic dimensions and mounted on a laminated surface that endows them with a glamorous, rarefied quality. Exposed in this manner, which underscores their beauty, they form a shiny black panorama. In this work, Adika undermines the common division between art and craft and endows cheap tourist clichés, which were painstakingly carved by anonymous hands, with a new aura and context. The artist examines the sweeping assimilation of African folk objects into Israeli visual and material culture, and contains an implicit critique of imperialism, social stereotypes, belonging and identity in an Orientalist sphere.
Born in Jerusalem, 1970; lives and works in Tel Aviv