Fortunately for the artists of Jerusalem, not everyone needs to be famous or much in demand, in order to make a modest living, and to put bread on the table. There are all kinds of side jobs that can bring a living. Some folks teach, and some work in community centers, and some illustrate pamphlets, and some beautify the city. I am most enchanted by the many efforts to beautify the city. There are projects that come and go, and are forgotten after a while. I particularly enjoyed the many lions that were spread all over the city, on street corners and public plazas. The lion is the symbol of Jerusalem. It seemed, when they first appeared, that they would be around for a long time, but they too, did not last for too long. I imagine that those that have been saved will be very expensive collectors items one of these days. I have no idea where they are now, though I managed to photograph quite a few, and I will post some of the pictures one of these days.
What I did want to post today, were some pictures of the recycle bins that were placed around the city some years back. They were meant primarily for the recycling of paper, and people are asked to put nothing in them except old newspapers and magazines, and writing paper, etc. And these receptacles were followed by something truly unique to our culture, the ‘repository for holy pages’, about which I will write in my next post.
When these bins first found themselves on the streets of our city, they provoked quite an argument. Because there were those that claimed that the process of recycling was more expensive than producing the paper in the old fashioned way. But we, like many people in other parts of the western world, wanted the feeling that we were doing something to protect our environment… even if that something wasn’t completely logical, and those in favor of the recycling had their way.
And sure enough, there were secondary advantages to the project. For someone on the city council noticed that the bins were quite unattractive; green blots that appeared on many a street, and it was decided to invite any of the city’s artists to take part in the beautifying of these bins. And that they did. There were quite a few who stepped forward to take advantage of the opportunity. All over the city, the bins were adorned with some very interesting pictures.
It wasn’t at all what I expected. The many different artists who got a commission, offered a wide variety of work, some of which was naïve in character, some of which related to the purpose of the bins… and some of which had a humorous approach which everyone could enjoy. I have many more examples than those I post today… and for all I know, there is a similarity between what we have here, and what is found in other cities of the world. I don’t know, because I haven’t traveled outside of the country for many years, already. But I thought it might interest you, and so here it is.