CULTURE & ARTS

1,200 Israelis Posed Nude At The Dead Sea -- Which, Five Years Later, Is Drying Up

See the natural wonder while you still can.

Warning: This post contains nudity and may not be appropriate for work environments. 

Dead Sea, 2011
Dead Sea, 2011

It’s been five years since photographer Spencer Tunick captured 1,200 naked men and women swimming in Israel’s Dead Sea, their bodies looking no bigger than buoys bobbing in the salty water.

The photo shoot was originally meant to document the stunning beauty of the body of water, which stretches between Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan. However, the Dead Sea has been evaporating at an alarming rate ― about 1.2 meters per year. Thus Tunick’s project came to serve as an accidental homage to the sea in its former state. 

Dead Sea, 2011
Dead Sea, 2011

Tunick’s 2011 photos are slated to go on view this fall at a Tel Aviv gallery named 4 Florentin Space. While he is back in Israel, the artist is taking the opportunity to show individuals just how much the Dead Sea has suffered over the past five years. 

Tunick will return this September to Mineral Beach, the site of his previous artworks, to hold a press conference about the dangers the sea is currently facing. He explained in an email to The Huffington Post that the destination is no longer accessible to the public because of perilous sinkholes caused by the drying sea. Visitors will be able to view the devastation. Dr. Clive Lipchin, director of the Center for Transboundary Water Management at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, will accompany Tunick.

Together, the artist and water management expert hope the photos will raise awareness worldwide about the precarious state of the sea, and encourage leaders to take action. Scientists have long warned that, if the Dead Sea continues to dry at the current rate, the lowest point on earth will dry up completely by 2050. 

Dead Sea, 2011
Dead Sea, 2011

The Dead Sea we once knew doesn’t exist anymore,” Lipchin told the Jerusalem Post. “The harm that has been done on all environmental levels has caused damages that are partly irreversible ... the window of opportunity is narrow and will soon be closed.” 

In July of this year, Tunick organized 100 bold women to pose nude at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, thus protesting the Republican party’s hateful rhetoric against women. (Yes, the nudity is a standard theme for Tunick.) The Israeli project, however, holds a special place in Tunick’s heart. 

“Since 1991, I have traveled the world making immersive art with people of all races, religions, and nationalities,” he said in a press statement. “But Israel is a unique place that I hold close to my heart and is the only country in the Middle East where I can be allowed to have proper freedom of expression.”

Spencer Tunick’s work will be on view at 4 Florentin Space in Tel Aviv from Sept. 14–28, 2016. 

Dead Sea, 2011
Dead Sea, 2011
HuffPost

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