Afikim Iconography is a local graphic illustration project that was born out of love for our childhood home, Kibbutz Afikim. The project, which began with an illustration of an old film screening stand, has over time become a journey of collection and archival research, and a series of illustrations designed to commemorate the praise song of the kibbutz industry and the life of the 90-year-old kibbutz.
"Afikim Iconography" is a local graphic project that aims to elevate the images and details of our childhood home - Kibbutz Afikim. In the course of our lives in the kibbutz yard, the buildings, appliances, and objects that were part of our everyday lives, used by us and as objects, were taken for granted. As we grew up and left Afikim, we began to notice the beauty of these objects, most of which were made by the laborers who founded the kibbutz at the beginning of the last century.
Afikim is one of the oldest kibbutzim in Israel. Afikim's icons reveal the story of a design language born out of necessity and without knowledge. All objects and buildings were built to address a problem or the well-being of the kibbutz members, whether it was street lighting, a children's home, or bicycle parking.
We began the project by surveying objects, corners, and events from the farmyard, debating what an icon is, and whether it is local mythology or a universal concept.
With each new object in the collection, the language became more sophisticated, and we discovered that all objects - from the dining room tray to a water tower - obey the same rules in their own way: the raw materials reappear, the production methods repeat, internal aesthetics are common to all objects and above all light The eternal sun of the valley and the dark shadow that falls across everything
"the raw materials reappear, production methods repeat, internal aesthetics common to the various objects, and above all The eternal sunlight of the valley and the dark shadow that falls from everything."
From "Portfolio" magazine
From portfolio magazine
About ten years after we left the kibbutz, I received (Eitan) a phone call from Dan, who said that he was working on a graphic illustration project about the kibbutz and that he was looking for a partner who would provide a counterpoint from the content, research, and curators. I admit I did not fully understand what it was all about, but I could already think of these objects being considered extraordinary in beauty.
The project began with a series of meetings between the two of us during which we surveyed objects, corners, and events from the farm yard and pondered the question of what an icon is and who the project is trying to talk about - is it local mythology or is there something beyond.
With each object that joined the collection, the language became more sophisticated and we realized that there is a system of internal rules that all objects - from the dining room tray to the water tower - obey in some way: the raw materials reappear, production methods repeat, internal aesthetics common to the various objects, and above all The eternal sunlight of the valley and the dark shadow that falls from everything.
So where did the iconography come from? The project deals with the incidental objects, which were our everyday, and if we go back, also of our parents. During the project we tried to perpetuate the casual and useful and turn it into an icon, hence the name of the project, "Buses Iconography". Iconography is the study of symbols and images, which is a central part of the study of art history and serves as one of the methods for analyzing a work of art and describing the history of art. Our goal was to offer a new interpretation of the kibbutz's visual glossary.
Graphic-digital illustration has been used as a particularly convenient tool in an attempt to offer an alternative past to objects and paint them as ideal representations, as if they had all just come off the production line, without cracks and saturated with color. The flat digital illustration made it possible, among other things, to return to the drawing board and put the distorted into grid and legality and offer the aligned version of the images.
Many of the images were illustrated not on the basis of a specific photograph but from a collection of many points of view and the internal proportions of the objects, and most of them are flattened and devoid of perspective. Of course the style is not created out of nothing and artists - like Malika Favre | Vincent Mahe | Simon Landrein Geoff | McFetridge | Thibaud Herem | Timo Kuilder - Inspired us and helped us understand the way to crack each of the images.
Because of the great emotional potential of the project, we realized from the beginning that a significant part of it would be the dialogue with the kibbutz members past and present. Each week we posted on the project's Facebook page a post with a different series from the project, plus a short paragraph describing the essence of the image in our eyes. Together with the children of Afikim who grew up, we slowly discovered what is considered an icon and what is less.
The visitors to the page shared thoughts, uploaded photos and refined the stories behind the images. Another advantage created by the network presence is the online dialogue between the project page and the kibbutz archive page, which backed up the works with original photographs and put in a historical context. Through the conversation with the members, we realized that many of the veteran kibbutz members do not have access to any social network, and we set up a website that will coordinate the products of the project.
From the very beginning, the question arose whether this was a nostalgic project that would only concern Afikim boys and girls, or was there also a more universal idea that an outsider would be able to connect with?
From "Portfolio" magazine
From the very beginning, the question arose whether this was a nostalgic project that would only concern Afikim boys and girls, or was there also a more universal idea that an outsider would be able to connect with? An interesting story in this context is the series of illustrations of "The Spaceship", a metallic structure that is today located on the Sirin ridge and was originally a temporary screening room for films in Afikim in the years when the community center and amphitheater were built.
The kibbutz archives state that "the structure was an attempt to characterize something imaginary, a kind of spaceship or creature from another world that landed on Earth. Aside from the inspiration for distant worlds the structure had to be cheap and built from local materials. Therefore, the skeleton structure was made of steel and was built entirely in the kibbutz's locksmith shop. The casing was made of plywood manufactured in the lightweight factory (at that time it was a material available in Afikim). In front of the building was a large window through which the films were projected, at the current site, it became an observation point. '
Precisely this illustration, despite its enigmatic nature, stood out above all the other illustrations in its responses to it.