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The Stylish Art of Surfing

The Stylish Art of Surfing
Amir Mark, Talismans © Courtesy of PR
Israelis love to surf. In fact, most of us can think of at least a handful of people who play hooky on days when the conditions for surfing are optimal. The Arie Klang House Artists Gallery in Ashdod is paying homage to all things surfing with the opening of their exhibition titled “Wave Catchers.” 

Wave Catchers will mark the first Israeli show to present what they are calling “the Israeli world of surfing, the surfing experience, and the cultural world of Wave Catchers.” The exhibit, which is free, features photos, art installations, sound and video art, historical collectors’ items as well as surfing outfits, and surfing-inspired clothing. “Israel has a very large community of surfers, but Ashdod in particular has a strong and fast-growing community – there are five schools of surfing now!” says the exhibit’s art and design curator Naama Arbel. “It’s also worth noting that while there have been a number of surf-inspired exhibitions in Israel in the past, none were as comprehensive and on the scale that we are presenting; they were more niche with a focus on photography or art on surf boards, for example.” She goes on to explain that this is the first exhibition to capture the true nature and culture of surfing.

Arches Beach Ashdod © Maor Ben Hamo

Ashdod is, in fact, the ideal location for this two-gallery exhibit as a big portion of the community lives by the sea. “All the people in Ashdod know and love the sea, but they don’t know a lot about the culture of the sea and surfing, so we are excited to bring this knowledge to the community.” Arbel and her team have been working on this exhibit for nearly three months and in their research have gotten in touch with many top surfers, and the descendents of past top surfers, allowing them to get their hands on unique items like some of the first surfboards, dating back to the early 1960s, that ever came to Israel. 

Lea Tramer , Pottery © Lea Tramer

All of the items featured in the exhibit were sourced from around Israel as the focus here is exclusively on the Israeli surfing experience. Among the exhibition highlights you will find a range of surfboards – high wave, low wave, surfboards used in competitions, etc. – as well as ones that manufacturers made especially for the exhibition. Visitors will also get a look at how surfboards are actually made. While there was an open call for artists to submit surf-inspired work, there were also a number of commissions including an integrative design installation by Lila Chitayat and Eitan Vitkon, which allows visitors to get into a tube – tube riding is a term used by surfers to describe riding well inside the curve of a breaking wave. No wetsuit required!

Nataf Hirshberg © Shai Franco

Arie Klang House Artists Gallery, 2 Yair St, Ashdod, 08-922-1883; Admission is free and the exhibit runs now through September 13