MembersMicha Kirshner: Inverted Pieta

Jesus in Contemporary Israeli Art

By Tsvi Sadan |

Micha Kirshner (1947-2017), one of Israel’s leading photographers, was known particularly for his “opinion portrait,” which he introduced to Israeli journalism in the late 1980s. As a commentator on Israeli society, his portraits are essentially political. The extent of his influence on Israeli photography can’t be overstated. Kirshner’s works are presently being shown at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, an exhibit being promoted with banners featuring his inverted pieta decorating the city’s streets.

Kirshner served as head of Beit Berl’s Hamidrasha School of Art and of the photography department at WIZO Haifa Academy. He also taught at the prestigious Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design and the Sam Spiegel Film & Television School. In 1984, Kirshner received the Israel Museum Prize for photography.

One of his best-known portraits, Aisha al-Kurd (1988), shows a Palestinian mother from Gaza’s Khan Yunis refugee camp sitting with her genderless dead baby on her lap. This undeniable pieta shot was taken during the first Intifada (1987-1993). But, lacking context, this portrait creates a sense of continuity, which is to say...

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