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The house on 23 Bethlehem Road was built, probably, after World War I, by the brothers Jalil and Bendali Farradj, who had made a fortune in South America.Four Farradj brothers traveled to Bolivia in 1903 and returned in 1912. They returned to Jerusalem and built the magnificent house for their widowed mother and their family which included 7 brothers and a sister. The house was probably built between 1912 and 1918. On the ground floor lived the eldest brother, Issa Farradj, with his family. He had 5 children with his first wife, and after her death remarried, and had another 4 children. On the second floor lived the mother until she passed away in the 1920s, Ghrammatiki Farradj with her sons. The family lived in the house until mid thirties when they were forced to leave. The family belonged to the Eastern-Orthodox Christian community.
The history of the building and its inhabitants has been explored as part of the residency and exhibition, connecting to family members who were raised in the house - Please see Letter about the building by Mona Halaby. Currently the building is owned by Avi Butavia, and is inhabited by young Israelis and a few families.
HB Nano residency model challenges questions of adaptability and asks to integrate deeper into city life in a sustainable manner by being set within in a private home setting. HB Nano residency exists in a residential setting, hosting one artist at a time. The exploration of home taking place in this shared space, is based on a daily interaction and dialogue with host, reviewing the history of the site, having visits to other artist studios and cultural centers, and walks throughout the city - expanding the exploration of ‘home’ into the urban setting. Each artists arrives for three weeks, and by the end of this period creates a map and documentation of the experience, as a new work of art related to home.Current HB Nano Model is taking place in Jerusalem.
HB Nano Artists:
Shai Saul / Israel - Jan 2014
Elisabeth Smolarz / Poland & Germany - Feb 2014
Sally Krysztal Kramberg / Israel - March 2014
Igal Sarna / Israel - April 2014
Fatma Shanan / Israel, Druze - July 2014
Nissreen Najjaar / Palestine - Sep 2014
Rafram Chaddad / Israel & Tunisia
Guest Artists: Vered Kaminzki / Israel, Ruby Namdar / Israel
Research Information & Footage of original residents of the building: Sigal Landesberg / Israel
The building is set on Bethlechem Road which used to be the main road connecting Jerusalem to Betlethem in the Baq'a neighborhood (Arabic: بقعه, lit. "Valley") (Hebrew: בַּקְעָה) in southern Jerusalem, Israel. The neighbourhood was established in the late 19th century after the completion of the Jerusalem Railway Station, which connected Europe and Asia. The station created the nucleus of a commercial center that eventually attracted wealthy Arab, Christian and Armenian families from the Old City who built mansions there in the 1920s. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the neighborhood was left on the Israeli side of the dividing line between West Jerusalem and East Jerusalem, it's name changed officially to Geulim and many streets in Baq'a were named for the Twelve Tribes: Judah, Issachar, Zevulun, Reuven, Shimon, Gad, Ephraim, Menashe, Benjamin, Dan, Asher and Naphtali. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Baq'a experienced a significant change as middle class professionals began to move in. Many of the palatial homes were renovated, while some of the larger mansions from the Mandate period were subdivided into luxury apartments. Demographically, the neighborhood contains a mix of religious and secular Jews and is popular among English and French-speaking immigrants. The main commercial street, Bethlethem Road, is lined up nowdays with shops, designer stores, coffee houses, restaurants and more.