Roni Ben Ari
Festival Hub, Paddington Town Hall
These pictures are the result of a 2-year photography project and book documenting sex workers in a number of countries, including Israel, India, the Netherlands, and Russia. My work continues a tradition of early 20th century black and white documentary-style photography. It is my intent to shed light on those individuals who are marginalized from society: the rejected, the invisible, and the voiceless.
"I started this project after volunteering for a mobile health clinic in Tel Aviv, where we provided medical care and food to women who work as prostitutes. The mobile clinic was comprised of a doctor, a nurse, a social worker and volunteers who travel on scheduled days to the areas where prostitutes live and work. We provided services that included HIV and STD testing, distributed contraceptives and clean syringes, and serving sandwiches and hot drinks. It was important for us to establish a safe space for these women, and encourage them to speak openly about their life experiences. After building their trust, many of the women invited me into their homes and intimate spaces. I photographed this community while they were between customers, documenting their daily routines, mealtimes, conversations, laughter, and leisurely activities. While creating this body of work, I avoided photographing the women while they were working. Through Ladies in Waiting, I hope to dignify and elevate the lives of these women and reveal the humanity within them".
Roni Ben-Ari was born in Ramat Gan, Israel in 1947. She is a photographer, curator and multimedia artist. Her work has been widely exhibited nationally and internationally, which includes the International Festival of China, Barcelona Foto Biennale in Spain, the Buchheim Museum in Germany, the Valkhof Art Museum in the Netherlands, the Parliament of Romania, and the Central Museum of Textiles in Poland. Roni was selected as a finalist for B&W Magazine’s Single Image Contest in 2018, a winner of the Magnum Photography Awards in 2017, and was a recipient of the Hariban Award in 2017, and received an honourable mention for the UNESCO Art & Society Award.
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