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A rare and intimate look at religion, politics, conflict, identity and coming of age in the Middle East come together in “Eighteen,” a new exhibition developed in Michigan State University’s Brody Hall. 
Environmental portraits by Jewish Israeli photographer Natan Dvir explore the lives of Israeli Palestinian youths who are turning 18 years old. The project raises compelling and timely questions about belief, trust and understanding – all the more poignant during this time of conflict and tension in the Middle East.  
The exhibit is produced jointly by the MSU Museum, School of Journalism, Residence Education and Housing Services, and the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives. 
This set of photographs, along with other work by Dvir, are part of the content for a special-topics course Witness: Photography, Film and Social Justice in the MSU School of Journalism in fall 2014. Dvir will be on campus for a week in October to give the annual Neal Shine Ethics Lecture for the School of Journalism, an MSU Library Colloquium talk, and a number of meetings with students and master classes.
Explains Dvir: “Although I grew up and spent most of my photographic career in Israel, I came to realize I did not truly know or understand its Arab society – over a fifth of the population consisting of hundreds of thousands of families who stayed within Israel’s borders after it was established in 1948. This large minority, which is currently experiencing a challenging identity crisis, has been somewhat forgotten amidst the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In a highly political environment I became interested in the stories of these people living as a minority in a country defined by its majority’s religion."
Ultimately, "Eighteen" is an invitation for reconciliation, understanding and respect, says Dvir. 
“The exhibition provides an inside view by one who is typically regarded as an outsider. If I, a Jewish Israeli man, have been accepted and was allowed into my subjects’ personal lives – so can others,” he adds. 
The MSU School of Journalism, along with the MSU Museum, the science and culture museum at Michigan State University, are working to develop a series of exhibitions in the Brody Neighborhood that create a forum for exploration and dialogue around contemporary issues.   
"Eighteen" project partners include the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives’ Project 60/50, Muslim Studies, Jewish Studies, Religious Studies, Global Studies in the Arts and Humanities, and Peace and Justice Studies at Michigan State University. 
See “Eighteen” in the Brody Hall Classroom Corridor through January 2015. 
Image of BiAne Mohannad  Image of Jaffa Dina
Pictured: Bi'Ane Mohannad, left, and Jaffa Dina, right.