Democracy in the Time of Corona: Image of the Year

Shomrim is proud to present two awards in the framework of “Local Testimony,” the annual photojournalism exhibition, with Oded Balilty winning Shomrim’s Democracy award for his image of a protester waving an Israeli flag while being hit by a jet of water, and Sharina Rosner and Itay Raziel taking home Shomrim’s Democracy and Social Justice Award in the field of video production.

Shomrim is proud to present two awards in the framework of “Local Testimony,” the annual photojournalism exhibition, with Oded Balilty winning Shomrim’s Democracy award for his image of a protester waving an Israeli flag while being hit by a jet of water, and Sharina Rosner and Itay Raziel taking home Shomrim’s Democracy and Social Justice Award in the field of video production.

Shomrim is proud to present two awards in the framework of “Local Testimony,” the annual photojournalism exhibition, with Oded Balilty winning Shomrim’s Democracy award for his image of a protester waving an Israeli flag while being hit by a jet of water, and Sharina Rosner and Itay Raziel taking home Shomrim’s Democracy and Social Justice Award in the field of video production.

Image of the year winner: Oded Balilty/AP

December 29, 2020

Summary

2020 will be remembered as the Year of the Coronavirus, the year in which a pandemic forced the world to take a breather and come to a standstill. And while we’re taking a mask-covered breath – something that, hopefully, will not be a long-term fixture – it’s worth remembering that not everyone stood idly by in the face of what they perceived as a genuine threat to their existence in a democratic society: Thousands upon thousands of Israelis took to the streets, week after week, to voice their protests – despite the virus in the air.

We, at Shomrim – the Center for Media and Democracy, have kept a close watch on the protests throughout the year, from the first lockdown and through to the third, which is currently upon us. Together with our ongoing reporting of events, we also curated three photojournalism exhibitions under the title, Democracy in the Time of Corona, in which we invited the country’s leading photographers to offer us a view through their lenses of Israel’s democracy as it fights to defend itself in these harrowing times.

So it was only natural for Shomrim to play a part for the first time in Local Testimony, the prestigious annual photojournalism exhibition that was founded in 2003 and has, since its inception, shown off the best works of photographers working in our part of the world. The exhibition is open to the general public (at no cost) and we are proud to announce the winners of two awards sponsored by Shomrim.

Shomrim’s award for Democracy Picture of the Year for 2020 went to Associated Press photographer Oded Balilty, for his picture of protesters confronting riot police during a protest against the prime minister in Jerusalem, July 18, 2020 – an already-iconic image that has even been captured in sculpture by artist Itai Zlait, whose piece was initially placed in Paris Square in Jerusalem, only to be subsequently removed and forced to migrate to Rabin Square in Tel Aviv.

Shomrim’s Democracy and Social Justice Award in the field of video production went to two works – one by Itay Raziel and a second by Sharina Rosner.

Rosner’s work, Land, is a 5:52 minute personal documentary about the director’s identity as a settler, filmed in the West Bank between March and July. In her film, Rosner raises questions about free choice versus the choices made by parents and her upbringing at home, questions about belonging and identity, questions through which she examines the essence and purpose of life in the geographical and mental expanse in which we are brought into this world.

Itay Raziel won the award for his works, Creating (in) a Different Reality, which documents the lockdown and restrictions that were imposed in the early days of the coronavirus crisis in March (in collaboration with Nir Weiss), and also The Bastille Day Protest on Balfour, which documents the first large protest rally outside the prime minister’s residence in 2020 (in collaboration with Jeremy Portnoy, who oversaw the filming and assisted with the directing and editing too). The demonstration took place on July 14, Bastille Day in France, and the video’s soundtrack features Prise de la Bastille from 1790 and Korin Elal’s Ein Li Eretz Aheret.

Curated by Eldad Refaeli, an open-air exhibit of all the works in Local Testimony 2020 can be found in the public space of the Midtown Tel Aviv Complex, at 144 Menachem Begin Road, in Tel Aviv. It is open to the public free of charge. The exhibition will run until January 22, 2021.