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Off the wall

3D cracked teapot street mural augments reality in Old Jaffa

Dutch Embassy gifts city Tel Aviv-Jaffa with interactive work from Dutch artist Leon Keer, meant to show uniting force of tea customs

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

The pop surrealist art of Dutch artist Leon Keer, whose distorted teapot mural now decorates a wall in Old Jaffa, dedicated on February 24, 2022 (Courtesy Meijler Art)
The pop surrealist art of Dutch artist Leon Keer, whose distorted teapot mural now decorates a wall in Old Jaffa, dedicated on February 24, 2022 (Courtesy Meijler Art)

A new mural was unveiled Thursday in Old Jaffa, a gift of the Netherlands to the city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa.

Created by pop surrealist Dutch artist Leon Keer, the purposely distorted painting depicts a ceramic teapot, cracked in places but repaired with the Japanese Kintsugi technique, in which liquid gold is used as a glue to repair and make the object stronger and more beautiful.

The mural, painted on Kedumim Square next to The Jewish Culture Museum of Yemenite Art, is made to look as if it is three dimensional, a signature of Keer’s work.

Aside from tricks of the eye, it also includes an aspect of augmented reality.

Spectators can scan a QR code, which then makes a tea cup appear, with tea pouring into it. The steam emerging from the cup contains Hebrew, Arabic and Latin letters.

The concept, said Rachel Meijler, a public art producer who organized the Keer mural with the local Netherlands embassy to Israel, links the country’s long tea history with that of Arab and Jewish cultures, showing how tea customs bind people together, offering something in common.

Thai people walk beside a 3D street painting entitled “Victim of Circumstance” by the Netherlands’ Leon Keer during the Living Arts street painting festival, in Bangkok, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP/Sakchai Lalit)

Keer specializes in anamorphic street art: wall works that are purposely distorted to offer various messages. The paintings are designed to juxtapose playfulness and beauty against the visible decay and problematic issues of the world.

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