Cultural Hybrids, the new group show at the Corridor Contemporary Art Gallery in Tel Aviv, presents a diverse collection of portraits exploring the pivotal issue of the current age. The exhibition is a mix of works by emerging artists like Hebru Brantley and Cristiano Mangovo, and established practitioners such as Alex Katz and David Salle.

Unsurprisingly, given its curatorial theme, the exhibition draws together a wide spectrum of techniques and approaches, as diverse and as numerous as the artworks on display. Three color lithographs by Shepard Fairey are paired with “The Promise”, a large figurative oil on canvas by Tim Okamura—the former recalling his iconic “Hope” poster which defined the Obama presidential campaign of 2008, the latter exhibited at The White House. These are positioned alongside Bradley Hart’s exceptional injection technique, utilizing bubble wrap as a canvas.

Juxtaposing several facets of cultural diversity, the exhibition looks to underscore the essential hybridity interwoven into modern life. A series of nuanced line-and-shade portraits, of women in repose and at play, set off contemplative studies of black masculinity: both affirming, but also challenging, broad-brush reductionisms of gender and race. Tim Okamura’s figurative combination of formal realism and graffiti stands in dialogue with Johnson Eziefula’s hyper-realistic portrait, executed on paper. The two are brought together by the artistic intention. Whilst Eziefula, a Nigerian, works within an ostensibly familiar ethnic milieu, Okamura, a Canadian with Japanese antecedents, scouts for subjects who differ from him. But both engage with what lies beneath the skin. “I dress English, eat Igbo, sing Yoruba…we are all cultural hybrids,” Eziefula observes. Okamura takes a different route to the same destination with his artwork, inspired by the diversity he negotiated in his childhood: “There is one race—the human race.”

The conversation about gender and diversity extends into artworks by Carla Kranendock and Hebru Brantley, both inspired by overarching notions of empowerment. Kranendonk, from Holland, is known for her large scale mixed-media collages. Her work is influenced by visits to Senegal – tropes like the strong empowerment of African women, and the vibrant quality of local fabrics, leaving a powerful impression on her. Brantley, an emerging star from the United States, has said that Lil Mama, one of his leading characters in his work is influenced by “…all the little girls I grew up around, these terrorised and beat the hell out of me.” Another recurring character in his work is the superhero Fly Boy, aligning with a motif that is a constant presence in his work: heroic overtones encapsulating Brantley’s belief that we all deserve to be watched over, uplifted and protected.