Thursday, August 13, 2015

One Israeli's Different Kind of War

כ״ח לחודש החמישי תשע״ה

Avi Ram, a native Israeli, currently living in Florida, is competing in the second season of the television, reality show Skin Wars.
Skin Wars is a show, in which contestants compete against each other in the art of body painting.

Skin Wars is hosted by Rebecca Romijn is no stranger to body painting. She is probably best known for her role Mystique in the X-Men movie franchise. Mystique's costume is painted directed onto the actress's body.

In each episode, there is a short challenge, after which the winner receives a body painting related prize, as well as an advantage in the next, main challenge. The lowest rated contestant in the main challenge is eliminated from the competition.

Avi Ram
official Skin Wars promo shot

In this week’s main, “concept challenge,” the five remaining contestants had to paint their models to look like robots.

**Tzni'us Alert?**

Avi’s creation took inspiration from Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defense system. Avi is from a town close to Azza (Gaza), and where his mother still lives. In this week's episode, he recounted the times when an alarm would sound for residents to enter their bomb shelters. Sometimes, he remembered, this could happen every 20 minutes.

Noting that the “Iron Dome” is less than one hundred percent effective, Avi created a robot which would never miss intercepting a rocket shot into Israel. The khaki green color is supposed to mimic the Israeli Defense Forces [IDF] uniform.

"Iron Dome 3000"
Avi Ram, Airbrush Hero
"Skin Wars" S02 E08

This week’s judges, champion body painters Craig Tracy and Robin Slonina, entertainer RuPaul Charles, and Academy Award nominated, special effects artist Alec Gillis, seemed to give Avi only one, main piece of criticism, that the Star of David on his "Iron Dome 3000" robot did not pop out more.

RuPaul is known for poking non-offensive fun at all groups of people equally on his own show “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

I wonder if the show will get flack for staying away from politics, and focusing only on Avi's artistic expression, and even complimenting him for drawing on his personal experiences.

If they had mentioned something political about "innocent civilians in Gaza," the show might have been called anti-Israel or anti-Semitic.

Now, enter a group with an opposing view to defend the show's actions, and blame a conspiratorial, Zionist lobbying machine for influencing the art world.

I think you can see what I mean.

Honestly, I believe that the runner up in this episode, Lana, might have edged Avi out. No one would have batted an eyelash, if the judges had awarded her the win. They were that close. (Sorry, Avi!)

Instead, the judges and producers did not shy away from sticking to the sole purpose of the show, an artistic competition, and judging accordingly.

I think that they handled this well, and prevented a big, unnecessary drama which was just begging to happen.

I mention this show's episode as an example of the dilemmas the entertainment industry is being forced to face on a regular basis.

Avi, on the other hand, has a different dilemma to face. In this episode, he said that he would use some of the prize money on a trip to Israel. Avi and his mother have only seen each other for two weeks out of the past seven years. He said that he has wanted to go back, but his mother has told him that it is too dangerous, so he should stay in the U. S.

You can find contact information for Avi Ram through the links embedded above.

If you decide to contact him, to tell him how amazing his work it, do not forget to tell him that, prize money or not, he should come home, and visit his mother!

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