City pirates

Shoedei Yam, a new Jerusalem gallery, presents art with attitude and a sense of history.

“Do you want to see something so beautiful you won’t believe it?” asks artist Yoram Amir. We are standing on the balcony of Shodedei Yam (“Pirates”), his house-cum-gallery in a historic building in downtown Jerusalem, as pedestrians and trams bustle along Jaffa Road below. The narrow balcony is in disrepair, the ironwork rusting, with lengths of board covering holes in the wooden floor.

“But look what held the shutter,” Amir says excitedly, his brown eyes alight in a thin face framed by close-cropped grey hair and beard.

He points to a tiny iron latch, shaped like a man in a morning jacket and cap, that juts from the stonework under the arched window. “Look how much was invested in this balcony,” he continues, enraptured by the artistry of the 19th-century building, its trellises, arches, stones, and latch. Then he points across Jaffa Street to a squat, square apartment block built in the 1960s. Because of shoddy workmanship, Amir says, stones sometimes fall from the building’s facade, injuring passersby below. “It’s as if it’s not the same city,” he sighs. “This side of the street and the other side.”

Read the whole story from 2012 in the Jerusalem Report.