Yafo may be the lesser part of Tel Aviv – Yafo these days, but a hundred years ago, Tel Aviv didn’t exist. There was only Yafo. Most of us learned of the city by the ancient names of Jaffa or Joppa. Here, Andromeda was rescued by Perseus and Jonah set sail to meet his whale. If you believe Yafo has lost any luster and is only for fishermen, like the man pictured above, to escape from the bustle of the city, let me share a day’s adventure on the docks with you.
I had no plan, except to venture down to the port and see what was happening there. It was a random excursion but most of the best adventures are. My main find was an art show exhibiting local artists. The show was set up in an empty warehouse on the docks. The quality of work inspired my own creativity and as a guy who has trouble drawing a straight line, I was totally envious of their skill.
The heartbreak of the region is never very far from the artist’s stroke but neither is love and passion.
Being a temporary resident of Yafo, I immediately recognized the street depicted below.
I found the colors involved in this next set of paintings rather exquisite.
If you believe the skills of street art have no place in a gallery, let me suggest the next two items might change your mind.
The port also was home to a cafe near the water and most curiously, a theatre where only deaf actors perform. I don’t have any real pictures to share of them, but I recommend catching a performance. They’ve performed on Broadway and have the stage chops to make it worth the ticket price, if you can buy a ticket. Often, they are sold out.
This last painting is a bit of an inside joke. I saw this painting and immediately said to myself, “That’s, Deke!”. The portrait bore a striking resemblance to a guy, who occupied a bar stool most days at a pub I frequent when I am stateside. He regaled staff and customers alike with stories of mischief. Who knows if they were true or not but they were entertaining. I tweeted this picture back to the pub staff and they couldn’t believe the likeness either. For all I know, Deke had, in his world wanderings, met the artist in a Yafo pub some distant night ago.
If you are lucky enough to find yourself in Yafo, I encourage you to consider a visit to the port. Forget what the tourist agenda recommends, take in the smells of the ocean, the conversations of the locals, the sites that give the city flavor and enhance the creativity of artists. Remember though, if you run into Deke at a local pub, the tales grow larger with every round you buy.