Efrat Shvily was born in Jerusalem in 1955 and studied political science at Bar-Ilan University in Israel and at Oxford University in England. Shvily’s interest in political issues directly influences her work. After living abroad in Italy, Great Britain, and the US, Shvily returned to Israel in 1989 to find that a number of new settlements were built in her absence. With this new wave of building, she began photographing structures, a subject matter that has dominated her work. Shvily’s politically charged photographs of deserted buildings speak to the complex relationship between Israelis and the land. Shvily does not provide a caption, making it unclear to the viewer if the building has been abandoned, is new construction, or is currently occupied. Her work includes two series that she presented at Witte de With in 2003, called New Homes in Israel and the Occupied Territories and Palestinian Cabinet Ministers. She also exhibited at the 50th International Venice Biennial and the 8th International Istanbul Biennial that same year.
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