Monday, January 5, 2015

Arabrew: Can new typeface create Arab-Jewish equality in Israel?

A new exhibition featuring typefaces that mix Hebrew 
and Arabic letters couldn't have come at a better time.

By Esther Zandberg for Haaretz

 As can be seen in the road signs for Arab communities, to mention just one example, in Israel the Arabic language has been marginalized at the expense of Hebrew. This is further emphasized by the contrast between the square and aggressive Hebrew typefaces of official Israel and the softer and more rounded letters of typical Arabic typefaces, a difference that in fact reflects the balance of powers between the country’s Jewish and Arab communities.

Type designers Liron Lavi Turkenich and Daniel Grumer each designed a new Hebrew-Arabic typeface, and while their solutions are different the objective was the same: to achieve visual coordination, equal visibility and presence and peaceful coexistence between these two languages that share a same space while taking a small step for peace. Grumer created Avraham-Ibrahim as his final project as a visual communications major at Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in 2014. Lavi Turkenich created Aravrit (“Arabrew,” if you will) as her final project in the same program at Ramat Gan’s Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in 2012. Both are showing their work in “Davar Hamelekh” (“the king’s order”), an exhibition that is part of “Lashon Rishon,” the eighth annual conference on the Hebrew language. The exhibition runs from December 27 through February 25, at Rishon Letzion city hall.

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