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Domestic Currency


The Domestic Currency exhibit presents art works related to the theme of money by contemporary Israeli artists.

Money - beyond its roles as means of payment, tool for sustenance and national symbol - has additional meanings that are significant in our lives. It often evokes emotions, raises questions, and provokes debates about values, and reflects personal approaches to the extent of its importance and contribution to happiness. Money is also viewed as a source of status, power, and influence.

The works of art in the exhibit present examples of personal, functional, and aesthetic perspectives on money, its role in religious ceremonies and social customs in Israeli society, and the symbolic meanings of representation on banknotes and coins.

The integration of the works of art among the items related to economic activity displayed at the Bank of Israel’s Visitors Center creates special connections and new references, provoking thoughts, and suggesting original perspectives on viewing money.

Latzi, “Money”

In this video piece, where we see a wallet beating like a heart, the artist adopts a “Stop motion” technique that allows her to illustrate the sense of a cycle of filling and emptying along two life paths. One path is the day-to-day reality in which money is an essential resource for our existence, entering and leaving at the pace of life. Sometimes the wallet is empty, and sometimes it is full, and these fluctuations can also have an emotional effect. The second path reflects the artistic process, which is based on filling up at the moment of creation—with ideas, resources, abilities—and emptying out after the work is produced, thereupon to repeat.
Latzi, “Money”

Hadas Hassid, “Drawing”

“Drawing” is the first of a group of duplication drawings that pose as well-known documents that are an integral and almost transparent part of our day-to-day lives.

The work deals with the processes of drawing as an artistic medium, and adds a day-to-day narrative. Its simple name reveals nothing. This drawing in pencil colors is a precise copy of the artist’s pay slip, which provides a certain type of detail about her, such as how much she earns, how much tax she pays, her family status, and what insurance she has. The drawing transforms the document into something unique and personal, perhaps a self-portrait. Other questions raised by the work have to do with the ability to expose personal matters to the viewer.
Hadas Hassid, “Drawing”

Nurit Yarden, “Tip”

Yarden’s works in the past decade can be defined as a sociological diary based on wandering. The “Tip” series is part of this diary.

“A few years ago, I discovered that in many cafes and restaurants in Tel Aviv, they present the bill on beautiful dishes, and I began photographing them with the tip that I left on them. I was intrigued by the different incarnations of the dishes. They had all been used in private homes in the 1960s and 1970s - the kind of dishes they used when I was a child, in my grandmother’s house. I was interested by their journeys from the homes of the Tel Aviv bourgeois of the time to the cafes and restaurants of today. Now, such dishes are bought mainly in the flea market in Jaffa. I was also captivated by the beauty of the coins themselves, their design and the integration that was formed with the pattern on the dishes.”

The work draws attention to the tip itself as well by implying that it is frequently the main source of income for the waiters, and raises questions such as whether the tip is generous or miserly, and whether emotion can be expressed or a message transmitted through money.
Nurit Yarden, “Tip”

Mahmood Kaiss, Series of Coins

This work is part of a series created by the artist between 2007 and 2016 — concrete works that are enlargements of the “mil” coins from the British Mandate period. The coins were issued from 1927, and were in use until 1948. The “five mil”, “ten mil” and “twenty mil” coins of the series contain writing, without beginning, middle or end, in three languages — Arabic, Hebrew and English. The work raises issues concerning the representations and symbolism of the coins.
Mahmood Kaiss, Series of Coins

Ma’ayan Kraim, “The New Banknotes”

Kraim presents an artistic project inspired by the new series of banknotes issued starting in 2014. The banknotes are not just a means of payment, but also material objects that are passed from hand to hand, and carry images that are a main component of our visual culture.

The work brings to mind the difference between a work of art and a banknote. Unlike a work of art, a new banknote begins its life cycle as one of tens of thousands of identical objects, which even so bears the halo of authenticity because its value depends on it being genuine, and copying it is prohibited by law. However, from the moment it is put into circulation, the banknote absorbs signs of use and begins showing its age. This makes it a unique object.

Kraim created a series of paintings that are similar, yet differ from each other. Their colors fade gradually. Does this contain a hint of the future of the banknotes—the possibility that they may disappear in favor of new technological means of payment?

The work also deals with the question of how a banknote captures and defines identity. Lacking any identifying features of image or value, the paintings may provide a platform for discussion of the complex question of what should appear on the banknotes.
Ma’ayan Kraim, “The New Banknotes”

Yaakov Naumi, “Pidyon Haben” (Redemption of the First Born Son)

The image captures a moment from the Redemption of the First Born Son ceremony. In fulfilling this religious precept, a new first-time father must redeem his son from a Kohen for money. The baby is redeemed in exchange for five Selaim, which are coins made of pure silver, or an object of equal value.

It is customary to hold a ceremony with many attendees, and to follow it with a festive meal. The baby is clothed in fine garments, and the women in attendance place their gold jewelry on and around the baby. In the picture, the baby is brought on a tray padded with an embroidered cushion, and handed over to the Kohen.

Naumi’s pictures, which are published in both the religious and the secular press, are from the point of view of the photographer, but also reflect the point of view of those who are not part of the Orthodox community, since this allows any person to observe Orthodox ceremonies and the Orthodox life cycle, and perhaps even to experience parts of them.
Yaakov Naumi, “Pidyon Haben” (Redemption of the First Born Son)

“Pidyon Haben” commemorative coins issued by the Bank of Israel

As the sole issuer of legal tender in Israel, the Bank of Israel issues commemorative coins each year and in honor of special events. The Governor of the Bank of Israel, with the approval of the Bank of Israel’s Supervisory Council and the government, determines the form of the banknotes, coins, and commemorative coins. The Governor is assisted by the Committee for Planning Banknotes, Coins, and Commemorative Coins. These coins are made of silver or gold, and are marketed to the public and to collectors in Israel and around the world through a marketing company.

The “Pidyon Haben” (Redemption of the First-Born Son) series of coins was issued between 1970 and 1978.
“Pidyon Haben” commemorative coins issued by the Bank of Israel