Photographer, multimedia artist and fervent peace activist Laray Polk stirred up controversy several years ago over a nude piece in a Dallas-area arts center. Now she tries to ruffle more feathers with the opening of her latest artistic venture, Gaza Zoo. The name harks back to the day in May when Israeli troops demolished Gaza's sole zoo while trying to ferret out Palestinian militants. It serves as a vehicle for Polk's observations of and opinions on the political, social and economic factors that allow for the mental and physical imprisonment of humans, especially in the volatile Gaza Strip.
Adapted from a book of the same title, Gaza Zoo, a linear presentation of 150 digital photographs, challenges its viewers' understanding of the integration of images and text by forcing them to become active rather than passive participants in the artistic experience. The audience is forced to read rather than see the pictures presented before them. It's new, it's different, it's a big honkin' metaphor, and there's nothing like a good metaphor to get a typical, artsy-intellectual audience all hot and bothered. So give Polk and her art your support and patronage, and let's hope this Gaza Zoo won't meet the same grisly fate as its namesake.
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