A unique artwork exhibition was unveiled last week in Tel Aviv, showcasing the work of gifted artists currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
The "Colors in Rifle Barrels" exhibit is an Association for the Wellbeing of Israel's Soldiers (AWIS) project, in conjunction with the Avni Institute, the Israeli Education and Youth Corps and the Israel Border Police, giving Israel's budding young artists an opportunity to vie for 5 one-year scholarships to the Avni Institute of Arts and Design.
A diverse range of competitors hailing from units across the IDF submitted an equally wide range of creative artworks, including sculptures, paintings, photographs, digital media and drawings.
The exhibit was opened last Thursday in the presence of the IDF Head of IDF Human Resources, Maj. Gen. Orna Barbibay, Education and Youth Officer, Brig. Gen. Avner Paz-Tzuk, Border Police Commander, Maj. Gen. Amos Yaakov, and AWIS Chairman and project initiator, Mr. Avigdor Kahalani.
Only a few dozen works were exhibited out of 210 submissions, with the five winners selected by a panel of judges consisting of specialists in art from the Avni Institute and representatives from both the IDF and the AWIS. A sixth "audience favorite" was chosen by members of the public who voted for their preferences on Facebook.
Most adult Israelis are obligated to enlist for military or national service, and while IDF service often helps young Israelis gain skills and build connections which actually help them later on in life, it also presents them with challenges - including, most obviously, a three-year gap between finishing high school and starting their university or college degrees.
Initiatives such as this are part of wider efforts by AWIS to both support Israeli soldiers during their service, as well as enabling them to actualize their potential and integrate back into civilian life after its completion, according to Kahalani.
"The Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers is proud to help soldiers in all aspects of life, including the field of art.'The Colors in Rifle Barrels' exhibition provides these young artists with recognition and a stage for their works," he said.
Below are the six winners, beginning with a haunting piece by Karine Molcho which portrays the real-life scene of an Ethiopian-Israeli family mourning the loss of their infant son in a Kassam rocket attack by Arab terrorists from the Gaza Strip.
The works are being publicly displayed free of charge at Beit Hachayal (Soldier’s Home) on 60 Weizmann Street in Tel Aviv until Thursday 19th December, 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.