JCC campers reimagine exhibit on Dead Sea

The finished collages are now on display at the PJCC as part of Ofir Ben Tov’s photography exhibit, “The Dead Sea.”

Images of the Dead Sea line the walls of the Peninsula Jewish Community Center — and sprinkled among the photographs by famed Israeli photographer Ofir Ben Tov are pieces inspired by his work, created by PJCC campers.

After taking the 5- to 7-year-olds on a tour of Ben Tov’s “The Dead Sea” exhibit, which depicts the decline of the region through a series of aerial photographs, PJCC art teacher Ellen Weinstein thought that creating art based on the exhibit would be “a way to incorporate it, and give them a visual of how it used to be and how it is now, and how things are changing,” she said.

Weinstein worked the artist’s environmental message into the project by teaching the children about the plight of the Dead Sea.

“There are sink holes because the land is so unstable. Some of them made that a part of their picture,” Weinstein said.

Ben Tov’s use of math and geography to track the decline of the Dead Sea contrasts with the children’s freeform pieces, which were made with watercolor, salt and collage materials.

Peninsula JCC campers create their own interpretations of the Dead Sea with watercolor, salt and collage materials.

“I told them … they could do it their own way, with their own ideas, and there was no right or no wrong way to do it,” said Weinstein of the artistic process.The PJCC campers created nearly 100 pieces, which were framed and are currently on display, along with text by the children explaining their work, amid the main exhibit in the JCC lobby in Foster City. A number of the children have brought their parents in to see their artwork, as well as Ben Tov’s photography.

“Every once in a while, they’ll say something about it,” said Weinstein, “It’s a good sign.”