This article explores the political relevance of popular artistic productions by immigrants and the links between art and identity politics in the context of Israel. I propose the term ethnic provocation as an analytical tool for understanding the role of immigrant artists’ critical stance in their new society, and the anti-hegemonic spirit they advance. I examine the work of immigrant artists, members of the Russian-Israeli Generation 1.5, who came to Israel as children. The provocative art created by these immigrants tackles four different aspects of their ethnic identity: the stereotype of Russian speaking women as “sluts”, the religious-nationalist view of ex-Soviet Jews as gentiles, presentation of them as foreigners who do not belong in the Jewish state and their ambiguous location on the Israeli ethnic map. The article argues that ethnic provocation aims at resisting the negative stereotypes and exclusion of immigrants, and at challenging the ethnic hegemony in the host society.
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- Ethnicity sociology of culture
- cultural public sphere
- immigrant Generation 1.5