Museum of Israeli Art Cancels Black Panther Exhibition

Museum of Israeli Art Cancels Black Panther Exhibition

The Museum of Israeli Art has announced the cancellation of an interdisciplinary show about the country's Black Panther movement that was in development for over a year, Haaretz reports. Inspired by the American group whose name they borrowed, Israel's Black Panther party was a 1970s protest organization of North African immigrants who charged the Ashkenazi elite with discrimination and agitated for social justice. The contemporary artists recruited to participate in the exhibition that was slated to open last week include Sigalit Banai, Josef Dadon, Meir Gal, Itzik Badash, Dor Guez, Dafna Shalom, Meir Tati, Anisa Ashkar, and Roni Somek.

Shlomit Lir, a Ph.D. candidate at Bar-Ilan University, organized the exhibition and held meetings at the museum with Reuven Abergil, a former leader of the Black Panthers, and Nissim Musak, who produced a film about the movement. Lir told Haaretz that she "wanted something that would pave the way for a public discussion of the activities of the Black Panthers through contemporary art, all within the confines of the familiar and official space provided by the museum." She hopes to find a home for the exhibition — which was to have includededucational programs, lectures, film screenings, and poetry symposia — elsewhere.

Museum curator Meir Aharonson denied that the show’s political content was the reason for its cancellation and said that the exhibition did not progress as expected. Aharonson told Haaretz that "according to summary documents in our possession, it was never promised the exhibit would be presented."