JGallery Presents The Jews of Africa: A Photographic Journey
British-American photographer Jono David, during a four-year journey between August 2012 and April 2016, documented the Jewish landscape of Africa from dwindling European enclaves in southern Africa to isolated communities of the Maghreb of Northern Africa to the unprecedented blossoming of Judaism among Sub-Saharan Africans. His travels culminated in the exhibition "The Jews of Africa: A Photographic Journey through Ancient and Awakening Communities,” on view in the JGallery from September 11 until October 16, 2017. The exhibition showcases 47 images from Jono's project documenting Jewish life, culture, and history in 30 African countries and territories. The Visual Arts League will host an opening reception at the JCC, 7300 Hart Lane, on September 14 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
In writing about his travels and photography, Jono David says, "Life is a journey. Mine has taken me to 145 countries and territories…I've endeavored to bring it all into focus through my camera.
Ultimately, however, the voyages aren't about me but about the people and places in my viewfinder. As a photographer and a writer, my job is not to judge. It is to observe, to engage, to report, to preserve...and to be grateful for all the opportunities. Along the way, I've learned much about the world and my place in it. Above all, I've experienced first-hand that most people are good and gracious, and they are curious about and welcoming to far-flung visitors such as myself.
I am humbled by the gifts of friendship and time people from all walks of life have bestowed upon me. Much of my own energy and inspiration for my work is drawn from them and the freedom of the open road."
Born in England and raised in the United States, Jono has also resided briefly in Israel and for 23 years in Osaka, Japan. Jono says that his "Jewish photographic aims are to contribute to the record of Jewish life and culture worldwide. I am excited to bring the Jews of Africa to Shalom Austin because I know the community is vibrant and outward-looking. I am sure community members and visitors will find this photographic journey as compelling as the real thing was for me. I also hope these images and stories will inspire viewers to learn more about the Jews of Africa andmaybe even take a Jewish African journey of their own." Jono's archive, HaChayim HaYehudim Jewish Photo Library®, currently contains more than 110,000 images from 116 countries and territories.
Jono David's photographs and articles have appeared in a number of notable newspapers, magazines and books including Hadassah Magazine, Forward, The Jewish Telegraph (UK), The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Wall Street Journal, The Miami Herald, The Toronto Sun and the Encyclopedia of the Jewish Diaspora. ■
The Jews of Africa is on view at the JGallery at 7300 Hart Lane from September 11-October 16. For more information, visit shalomaustin.org/gallery.