An Israeli artist has been featured in an exhibition conceived by the Duchess of Cambridge, which depicts everyday life under lockdown.
Karni Arieli’s photograph of her six-year-old son Teo having his hair cut in the garden, was chosen by the National Portrait Gallery’s ‘Hold Still’ display.
Born in Raanana, the Bristol-based artist beat more than 30,000 submissions, with just 100 pieces of work featured in the exhibit, to create a “collective portrait of the UK during lockdown”.
The portrait came about after “I started cutting his hair with scissors and then his dad did the fine tuning with the clippers. The light was just hitting them so beautifully and I went to grab my good camera to document it. They just perfectly positioned themselves naturally in the sort of last rays of light to come through the tree at the edge of our garden.”
Arieli, who has lived in the UK since 2002 with her Israeli husband Saul and their two kids, studied photography at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, and said she was “honoured” and “shocked” to have been selected for the exhibition.
“The amazing thing about this pandemic is everyone went through a similar thing. My family in Israel, for the first time is going through a sort of replica of what we were going though, and that kind of identifying with humanity in the exhibition, felt really strong to me and I was really honoured to be a part of that.”
“I grew up in Israel, my grandfather is from a big family and grew up in East London in the Blitz. I think he would have been really proud to have an image by his granddaughter in this exhibition. I guess there’s a little slice of visual memory of this time.”
She added, that while “I’m not a nurse or a doctor, what I can do is use my tool, a camera, to document these times, which is important. When you look back at all historical moments like Second World War, First World War, the Holocaust; the only way to sometimes relate is through an image.”
Along with her husband, who is also an artist, the duo were nominated for a BAFTA award in 2011 for a short film, ‘Turning’, made with the BBC.