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Ahikam Seri June 7, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Israel.

Eritrean Church, Tel Aviv 2011, from the series ‘Seek Asylum’

Ahikam Seri (b. 1972, Israel) took up photography when his friend introduced him to a makeshift darkroom at his parent’s warehouse. Between 1995 and 1998 he studied photography in Jerusalem. Ahikam has covered news stories in Israel and the Palestinian territories. His in-depth reportage on unrecognized Bedouin villages in Israel received an IFDP grant from Fifty Crows and an All Roads award from National Geographic. A report on hard-line Jewish settlers in the West Bank was exhibited at Visa Pour L’image. Other projects have received awards from Nikon and PDN and have been exhibited at the Reportage Photo Festival, and featured in group projects such as This Day of Change by Courrier Japan, and Nazar: Act of Faith by Noorderlicht. He is represented by Panos Pictures.

About the Photograph:

“On the first morning of 2011, Eritreans pray in southern Tel Aviv. Their makeshift church is a former brothel. Since 2007, this neglected part of the city had become home for asylum-seekers who have been illegally arriving in Israel, mainly from Eritrea, Sudan, Ivory Coast, Ghana and beyond. Risking mortal danger to cross the armed Israel-Egypt border, they are smuggled by local Bedouins. They brave possible gunfire from Egyptian border guards crossing into Israel in search of a better future. This has sparked an internal debate over Israel’s moral obligation to provide shelter for such refugees. Until Israeli authorities come up with an official policy, the African asylum-seeker’s presence in Israel remains tenuous and their future uncertain.”