Identity as Artform: Yotam Mahler Track Premiere

In his new project ‘What Is Your Art?’, Israeli singer and producer Yotam Mahler uses music and photography to explore the intricate issue of identity and the idea of gender subversion as an artform. While working at his music studio in downtown Tel Aviv, Mahler got to know the community of transgender prostitutes working on the same street. Hearing about their life experiences influenced his music making and he started taking photographs of Nona-Chalant, Gili Basson and Leila, all three well known figures of the Israeli drag scene. The outcome of this encounter is the EP ‘What Is Your Art?’ and a photography project of the same name.

The title track of the EP blends a 90s soul vibe with dynamic electronica, while rich brass and string arrangements give it the cinematic dimension it deserves. Yotam Mahler describes it as “a representation of the voices in [his] head, the voices of society, criticising and questioning.”

The photographs of Nona-Chalant, Gili Basson, Leila and their friends have a timeless, delicate beauty about them and Mahler has managed to convey the strength and vulnerability of his subjects. Ultimately, these images give a middle finger to society’s perception of drag queens and transgender individuals, whose art and talent lies not in the performance of femininity but in the reinvention of their identities itself.

Yotam Mahler’s multi-disciplinary project ‘What Is Your Art?’ captures the beauty and chaos of the Tel Aviv drag scene, and we are very excited to give the track and photographs their first reveal today.

Words: Luna Cohen-Solal