Artist's pro-Israel challenge

By Jessica Elgot, July 21, 2011
Follow Jessica on Twitter
Noam Edry and some of the works in her final-year show

Noam Edry and some of the works in her final-year show

An Israeli artist's final degree show, which explored the anti-Zionism which she had encountered at her UK university, drew thousands of visitors and offers of exhibitions in London.

Noam Edry, a postgraduate student at Goldsmiths, part of London University, said: "More than 1,000 people have come to see the exhibition. There were queues for it. I also had around 40 Jewish and Israeli volunteers helping out."

Her show included paintings of scenes in Israel, videos of Ms Edry dressed as a "boycotted" Israeli date, and, in an installation called "Rehabilitating the Left," a masseuse massaging the left sides of visitors' bodies.

Volunteers, recruited by the Union of Jewish Students, Stand With Us, Engage and Goldsmiths J-Soc, handed out Israeli coffee and wore T-shirts bearing the slogan: "I come from the most hated place on Earth." The back of the shirts say: "Second to Iran."

Ms Edry said that those who disagreed with the show's pro-Zionist message could not believe volunteers were helping. "People asked how much I had paid them to be here. That's quite insulting, actually, it's almost antisemitic. They don't think people would hold these views unless you paid them. One person said she could not understand how I 'dared' to feel demonised."

She added: "The university insisted I moved my coffee stand, without explanation, and almost made me cancel my masseuse because they needed to see her paperwork. My teachers joked that I was the 'Zionist terrorist,' disrupting everything."

Ms Edry attended London's Immanuel College, but returned to serve in the Israeli army and then attended the Bezalel Art School in Jerusalem. She said: "There are other Israelis at Goldsmiths who try to hide their nationality, and I tried to do that at first. But I would go to parties with friends from class, and suddenly they would confront me about why I had been in the army. There's a really aggressive campaign at Goldsmiths. I tried to attend the meetings about Israel held on campus but no one wanted to listen to my point of view, until now."

Now galleries and collectors in London and Israel have approached her to buy and show the work.

    Last updated: 11:16am, July 25 2011