The Wandering Israeli, 2019. HD Video, color and sound.18min
Dr. Rotem Rozental, Chief Curator of the American Jewish University in Los Angeles
Rodrigo Valenzuela, Artist and Assistant Professor of Photography, UCLA, Los Angeles
The Wandering Israeli is an experimental documentary examining how identities shift in response to cultural settings. Through historical references and personal memories Dothan challenged the ability of an Israeli- a descendant of the wandering Jew- to abandon the stronghold of the “dream come true” homeland and start wandering again. Dothan travels through Germany, Israel and America as part of a quest to uproot and move away from the “promised land”. Found footage of newsreels and propaganda clips are interwoven with conversation between Dothan and her family about immigration and the significance of being an Israeli living outside of Israel. The Wandering Israeli is both a reflection and challenge on the notion of home and the ways in which it determines our individual and collective identities.
The Wandering Israeli is the first in a series comprising a three-part video project.
The Wandering Israeli is supported by: Word-Bruce Geller Memorial Prize, awarded by the Institute for Jewish Creativity, American Jewish University; The Frederick R. Weisman Travel Grant, UCLA; Artis Residency grant; and The Philip & Muriel Berman Foundation.
Shasha Dothan (b. 1987 Tel-Aviv) is a Los Angeles-based artist working with video, installation, poetry and sound. She creates immersive experiences that connect fragments of her personal history with the history of Israel. Exhibitions include the Ramat Gan Museum of Israeli Art, Ramat Gan; Petach Tikva Museum of Art, Petah Tikva; Blum & Poe, Los Angeles; Human Resources, Los Angeles; Erica Broussard Gallery, Santa Ana; American Jewish University, Los Angeles; Jerusalem Cultural Season, Jerusalem; and University at Buffalo Art Galleries, Buffalo. Dothan received an MFA from University of California Los Angeles (2018), and a BFA from Shenkar College (2013). Awards and scholarships include the John Baldessari Family Foundation Scholarship (2017-18); Young Artist Award from the Israeli Ministry of culture (2018); Word prize from AJU; and the Artis residency grant for Vermont Studio center. She is a founding member of the art collective Anti Mehikon.
Dr. Rotem Rozental is the Chief Curator of the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, where she serves as the Assistant Dean of the Whizin Center for Continuing Education and the Director of the Institute for Jewish Creativity (IJC). She is a photo-historian, writer, and curator. Traversing the domains of technology, media and art, she has been working as a consultant, editor, writer, educator and organizer for international publications, cultural non-profits and organizations, among them Dia:Beacon, The Liverpool Biennial, The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, and the Jerusalem Season of Culture. Rozental’s scholarly and curatorial projects have been supported by Artis, Independent Curators International, NurtureArt and the Center for Jewish History (NYC). Her writings and academic essays have appeared in magazines, journals, and publications including Photographies, Philosophy of Photography, Artforum.com, Tablet.com, and Uncertain States. Rotem’s Dissertation “Photographic Archives, Nationalism and the Foundation of the Jewish Sate, 1903-1948 was completed under the guidance of Prof. John Tagg at Birmingham University. From 2015-2016 Rotem served as the Dr. Sophie Bookhalter Research Fellow in Jewish Culture at the Center for Jewish History.
Rodrigo Valenzuela (b. 1982, Santiago, Chile) currently lives and works in Los Angeles, where he teaches at the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture. Recent solo exhibitions include the Orange County Museum (2018); Portland Art Museum (2018); McColl Center, Charlotte (2017); Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita (2016); and Frye Art Museum, Seattle (2015). Group exhibitions include The Kitchen, New York (2018); MOCA, North Miami (2018); The Drawing Center, New York (2017); Frye Art Museum, Seattle (2016); Tacoma Art Museum (2016); and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2016). In addition to a Core Fellowship at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, his recent residencies include Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture; MacDowell Colony; Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts; Center for Photography at Woodstock; and the Vermont Studio Center. He is the recipient of the Artist Trust’s Arts Innovator Award; the Texas Contemporary Award; the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts grant; an Art Matters Grant; and the Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant.