Established in July 2005 by a group of recent Bezalel Academy of Art and Design graduates, the Barbur gallery is infusing the Nahlaot neighborhood with a renewed spirit. Young artists, senior citizens and members of the eclectic community rolling up their sleeves to give Jerusalem a facelift.
Barbur Gallery – Keep an Open Mind
Planted in the midst of traditional Sephardic households and Yiddish speaking Ultra-Orthodox Jews, as well as wealthy immigrants who have literally transformed old ruins into castles, Barburniks invite everyone to experience what it means to have an open mind.
The Barbur non-profit independent gallery for contemporary art and artists is an open space, located on the picturesque Shirizli St. in Nahlaot. In an enclosure bordered by one hundred year old houses, the gallery is flanked by a small sports stadium and a children’s entertainment park. The open terrace at the entrance gives access to two large exhibit spaces, a flourishing community garden with lush vegetation and a taboon stove to bake Pita bread for the gallery’s events.
Outside the Mainstream
Outside the mainstream is an appropriate description of the Barbur Gallery. Avant-garde art exhibitions, underground film screenings, lectures and musical performances, occasional poetry evenings, discussions and debates are on the agenda. The Barbur philosophy is one of reaching out, community mingling and participation, open dialogue and debate, as well as growth through art.
Barbur Joins Shekel
The exhibit “Dialogue Through Art” is the fruit of a joint venture between Bezalel Academy for Art and Design, the School of Visual Theater students and the Shekel Association for disabled children and adults. In this exhibit, both art students and members of the Shekel association build visual works of art as a channel for expressing feelings which cannot be conveyed by verbal means. This venture transcends the limits of conventional social community relations. The results are as endearing as they are mind boggling. This year, participants worked on a mask exhibition by letting down their own masks and manifesting their inner struggles and repressed feelings encapsulated behind them. This exhibition was an eye opener, both for Shekel members, as well as for Bezalel students.
Barbur exhibitions change monthly. The Barbur motto is to serve as a platform for raising social issues and develop intercommunity projects. Barbur also promotes young and unknown artists and strives to bring the public’s attention to social issues which are not addressed in the mainstream art scene. Most events, which include weekly video-art screenings and monthly jazz performances involve the artists with the audience.
Art with a Social Message
A residency program allows different Jerusalem artists to spend up to two nights at the gallery and interact with locals by sharing their work, explaining their media and discussing their messages. A small but growing lending library offers books and films covering subjects such as art, education, politics, history and Middle East contemporary issues. .
The Jerusalem Post named Barbur as one of Jerusalem’s top five “contemporary art hotspots” and praised Barbur as “an influential and independent, nonprofit space for contemporary art and artists” whose exhibits promote works that “raise social issues”.