Working Class Heroes: an Exhibit

In an exhibit opening tonight, two young Israeli artists join creative forces to produce a not-so-ordinary 10-day Tel Aviv art exhibit, Working Class Heroes. The exhibit transcends the usual rules and aesthetics to deliver a message to all of us. At a time when socio-economic gaps are increasing and issues surrounding the working class are swelling, these two young artists are reaching out. Their Mission is to raise awareness, diminish judgments and encourage dialogue and understanding that in fact “we are all working class heroes with dreams and ambitions.”

Inspired by John Lennon’s lyrics from “Working Class Hero”, Jonathan Pasternak and Oren Golan invested the passed 15 months creating a collection of mix media work on 15 canvases. A combination of black and white documentary photos of Israel’s working class and vibrant oil paints symbolizing the universal dreams of success and heroism. An elegant, yet fun blend of reality and fantasy are portrayed as Pasternak masterfully dresses the working class of Golan’s photos with notorious super hero customs that we are all so familiar with since our dreamy childhood days. Each working hero was transformed to a superhero with powers relating to his/her work. The result, pop art at its best showcased at a pop-up gallery in the heart of Tel Aviv.

“When I heard John Lennon’s familiar lyrics to ‘Working Class Heroes’ sung by Marilyn Manson, the song left a different and far more powerful impression on me” Jonathan explains. “It was Manson’s rough and disturbing voice that truly reflected Lennon’s words.” It was at that moment Pasternak’s creative juices went into full gear as black and white images of workers combined with super hero illustrations filled his head. He clicked into hyper intense work mode and began his journey to make these images real by joining forces with Oren Golan. A photographer always with a message, Oren was a perfect match for the project. His own personal struggles and that of his family’s, opened a deeper dialogue between him and Jonathan about the plight of the working class.

Oren immediately related to the working class and shared with Jonathan the pride in struggling for a better tomorrow. The heroism of the working class became more lucid to Jonathan when he found himself working on what felt to him like a 1950’s factory assembly line clicking away at 1000’s of gadgets. He began to think deeply about the lives of factory workers and his own struggles to succeed. “I suddenly found myself relating to the factory workers that do this kind of work forever,” Jonathan explained. “I realized, the meaning behind their work is survival … they need to feed their families; their children …” Oren further added that the working-class do take pride in their work and in struggling to care for their families first and foremost. “Their dreams are about a better future for their children,” Oren stated. There is no thought of themselves in their choice of work and dreams are sacrificed for others. Jonathan realized that many people around him, including himself and Oren, could easily chase their dreams as they have the means and are backed by family. “Maybe, it’s the factory workers or labor workers in general who are the true working heroes,” Jonathan stated inquisitively. “Actually, we are all working class heroes …”

Against many obstacles this exhibit will take place: minimal budget, rundown donated exhibit space, lots of creativity, innovative interior design solutions, blues musician from the streets of Tel Aviv, guerilla marketing, donations, volunteers and much more. With such efforts, Jonathan and Oren hope to get the message out there – “we are all working class heroes” with dreams and aspirations and not always do we all have the opportunity or ability to achieve it all. We each have a story. “The next time you pass your delivery guy, street cleaner, please no judgments … they too are heroes.”

22 Nachmani Street, Tel Aviv – opens tonight till December 20th.