A UNIQUE story that sees discovery, determination and creativity, Ayala Gazit’s exhibition Was It A Dream will be in the core program of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale.
Her exhibition is her own journey to create a portrait of her brother, a person she never met.
When she was 12-years-old, she found out she had an older brother named James who lived in Australia. Unfortunately, Gazit never met James because he committed suicide in 1996.
“Uncomfortable being the eldest child in my family, I felt a great need for an older brother and became obsessed with the idea of James,” Gazit said.
Gazit, an Israeli, was drafted to the army after high school and served as a photographer and printer in the Israeli Intelligence, mandatory military service for two years.
“After being discharged I moved to New York in 2005 in order to complete a BFA in photography at The School of Visual Arts. I have been living and working in New York ever since, based in Brooklyn,” she said.
Gazit travelled to Australia in 2009 when her exhibition was born. She used scholarship money in search of James to understand the person she mourned.
The exhibition has been displayed in different parts of the world, but never in Australia where it was created with James’ family.
“In a sense it is bringing the work home and therefore the work will reach a type of completion,” Gazit said.
“This will be the first opportunity for the members of this story to be able to see this work in person.
“I am truly looking forward to having James’ family see the work and have the opportunity to see what they have helped me put together by opening their homes and lives to me, who beautifully shared with me their memories of James, and helped me better understand who my brother was.”
The opportunity for Gazit to participate in the Ballarat International Foto Biennale unfolded in Paris in November 2011, when she met with festival director Jeff Moorfoot during a portfolio review.
“I gave him a copy of my book dummy of Was it a Dream with the hopes to be able to exhibit in Australia in the future,” she said.
“A few months later I was contacted by Jeff who invited me to submit my work for consideration to exhibit as part of the core program of the Biennale, and I am incredibly fortunate to be able to take part in the festival.”
Foto Biennale special feature, page 36