An interactive art installation, in which participants are asked to fling a shoe at an image of Finance Minister Yair Lapid in return for a shot of liquor, ruffled feathers on Thursday.
The art piece, set up at a Dada movement-themed exhibition in Ein Hod, an artist’s village in the north, is a way of “expressing protest” at the recent price hike for hard liquor in Israel, artist Dror Karta said.
The installation features a long, flexible pole with which visitors can fling shoes at the visage of Lapid, which rests in a stairwell several meters away. A successful hit is rewarded with a shot of arak, an anise-flavored alcoholic beverage whose popularity among young Israelis made it something of a symbol of the protest against recent tax hikes initiated by Lapid.
Children can try also, but will get a glass of lemonade if they are able to hit the finance minister.
Karta, responding to criticism that minors shouldn’t be taught to throw shoes at political figures, said that no one was forcing children to participate and that “parents decide how they educate their children.”
The museum also received complaints that allowing public violence against a senior government figure was improper, but Karta said that he did “not think throwing a shoe at the photo is extreme or violent,” but was rather “a symbolic act of protest” rendered through “artistic expression.”
The act of shoe throwing, a sign of scorn and disrespect in the Arab world, was famously employed against then US president George W. Bush, who narrowly dodged a loafer while addressing reporters in Iraq in 2008.