A new exhibition, titled “Dorms Art Survey,” at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology presents nearly 100 photographs of artworks that decorates the rooms of the student dormitories – a rich and varied group portrait depicting a temporary human community whose life center is the Technion.
In the dorm room of student Ahlam Abugosh hangs a painting of a bird drawn by her sister, Rina Abugosh. “She sold it to me for 100 shekels when she was 12 – after we negotiated the price,” Ahlam says with a smile.
This is just one example of the 97 works on display in the new exhibition in the Technion’s Ullmann building. Although the gallery has only been opened last year, this is already the third exhibition to be held there, in a cooperation between the Dean of Students Office and the Unit for Undergraduate Studies.
The current exhibition, called “Dorms Art Survey,” features photos of diverse works of art from 39 apartments in the Technion dorms. The works were selected by the exhibition team headed by curator Valeria Geselev. More than 40% of the presented artwork was created by the students themselves.
“We issued an open call to students to participate in the exhibition, and the response was tremendous,” said curator Geselev. “All summer, we walked around the student dorms on campus, looking for artworks of all kinds – posters, drawings, oil paintings, and more. We photographed them professionally, with the cooperation of the students, of course. They were warm and enthusiastic. Behind every door, we found love. The students opened up their worlds to us, their personal space, that is sacred to my eyes.”
The exhibition’s opening last week was attended by the Technion Senior Executive Vice President Professor Oded Rabinovitch; Dean of Students Professor Ayelet Fishman; and the director of the dean’s office, Dr. Janna Shainsky-Roitman; the director of the student dormitories, Avraham Adgaha; Efrat Nativ Ronen, secretary of the Unit for Undergraduate Studies.; Israeli Hope Officer Effi Barkai Goral; and Liby Manash, chairman of the Technion Student Association.
“The Ullmann building, where all Technion students spend their first year, is considered the melting pot of the Technion, and the most important building in the education we offer our students,” said Prof. Oded Rabinovitch. “This is where the Technion spirit is created, so this location is right and proper for the exhibitions held here. This exhibition will also enhance the feeling of home and transmit a beautiful and important message to the entire Technion community.”
“The exhibition represents the diversity of the dormitory residents,” said Dean of Students Prof. Ayelet Fishman at the opening. “It is a means for women and men pursuing all degrees, individuals and families from all sectors, from Israel and abroad, to express themselves. I warmly thank the students who shared their personal spaces with us.”
“When I began my studies here four years ago, the walls in Ullmann building were empty,” said Technion Student Association Chairman Liby Manash. “This change is so important because art is vital to life. It’s very exciting to see how many students devote time to art while studying at the Technion.”
Other examples of art presented in the exhibition include:
- Levi Horvitz’s dorm room is decorated with paintings his partner, Sapir Solomon, drew as a child;
- Zoe Morgenstern hung tapestry in her room, that she got from her brother before he flew abroad;
- Jose María Velasco decorated his room with paper cutouts that are part of the Day of the Dead tradition in his native Mexico. “It’s my favorite holiday. I really miss the colors”;
- Gleb Merkulov hung a painting in his room created by Lali Kalinina, his mother’s friend from Moscow;
- Bhargav Jah has a painting that his former roommate, Noam, found and brought home. “Since then, Noam has returned to the U.S., but the painting remains in my Technion dorm”;
- Ofek Zur from the Faculties of Physics and Electrical and Computer Engineering, who filled her room with her own paintings, explained that “The paintings remind me to believe in my talent to create life on paper. They also give me peace and calm and remind me of significant and pleasant moments in my life.”
Curator Valeria Geselev noted that she got her inspiration from the exhibition “Home Is Where The Art Is,” held in 2020 at the Zeitz MOCAA Museum in Cape Town, South Africa. That exhibition displayed about 2,000 works that residents brought from their homes.
According to Geselev, “In the Technion exhibition, we didn’t bring the works themselves, but photographed them and printed them in their original sizes on the walls of the corridor in the Ullmann building. The Technion is seen as a place of achievement and sometimes as a rigid place, but the exhibition reflects the beautiful and varied face of the campus’s human diversity. For me, this is a celebration of individualism – students, their lives, their stories, the human connections they form. I thank all the partners who joined me on the exciting path that led to this exhibition, which is a rich group portrait depicting a temporary human community whose center is the Technion.”
Explore the arts of the student residences
The Dorms Art Survey
Curator: Valeria Geselev
Producer: Haneen Abed
Photographer: Tair Zargari
Design: Hagar Messer and Ofri Fortis
All the texts in the exhibition appear in Hebrew, Arabic and English
The exhibition will be open until the end of February, 2023.