Ofer Shemesh is an Israeli graphic designer who has been creating art for 30 years, reflecting his personal perception of the Jewish-Israeli soul in its search for identity and independence. His search has been influenced by the Jewish past, and continues to grow and prosper, influenced by art, culture and by international influences, while living under constant threat in the State of Israel. One of the significant influences on his work comes from an emotional experience as a combat soldier in the IDF during the Lebanon War in 1983. According to his words, " I tried to be human in a non-human situation”.
Ofer uses posters as a tool of popular art to convey his message of the powerful combination of tears and hope, eulogy and inspiration, modern and historical, Israeli and international.
His work has won several international awards and has been exhibited in museums and private galleries worldwide, including: The Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, Japan; the ZOA House Museum in Tel Aviv, Israel and other cities across the country; in Melbourne, Australia and Katmandu, Nepal.
Following his winning the 2013 international poster competition for The Holocaust Memorial Day, sponsored by the United Nations and the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, his winning poster will be displayed in the UN building and in government offices in 40 countries.
The names of all 56 concentration camps appear on the poster. Today, some camps are better known, others much less. Along with this, I gave the same weight, name and design to every camp - because these places were determiners of life and death for all those who were there and survived, those who were there and remained silent in their testimony, to their families, to all of us.
The union of names creates a monument of belonging, of the individual among the collective, each one's story in the book of Jewish history and mankind. I related to each camp as a graphic object bearing the same presence, disregarding the number of references to it in the history books, its size or the number of its victims, integrated into Hebrew script letters: stiff squares with angular corners and sharp connections, like the bricks of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Those I fused with barbed wire in a simple, clean design, with the intention that this simplicity would enable the viewer to catch some of the debris from the horrors that took place, void of any humanity.