BUILDING A CREATIVE PARTNERSHIP
By Meryll Levine Page, P2G Facilitator
One of us lives here, one of us lives in Rehovot. In hevruta (pairs) we studied, we built friendships with words and silence, we created and we grew together. This exhibit is the culmination of these partnerships. What is invisible to viewers is the strength of our relationships forged in study and conversation with each other.
Our topic, Israel@70: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow lent itself to three units that included; texts from classical Jewish sources, medieval sources, and modern sources. Whether we read in Hebrew or English, we grappled with questions that forced us to examine our attitudes and understanding of Israel and one another.
Each pair chose an idea or a phrase from our learning that became a springboard for both artists. Some pairs collaborated closely; others shared their work only at the end.
Some conversations were difficult. Some of our Israeli partners challenged our choice to live in the Diaspora. Some of us had opposing political views. At times, our exchanges were emotional. During our time together, some of us suffered
loss or illness, some rejoiced in births and other s’mahot (joyous occasions).
We began our partnerships learning Jewish text and focusing on our projects
and ended with a meeting of hearts and minds. Our relationships and our
learning have bound us even closer to Israel and Israelis.
During the opening week of this exhibit we read God’s promise in Vayikra (Leviticus) 25:19:
The land shall yield its fruit and you shall eat your fill, and you shall live upon it
May it be so.
Meet our artists from Minneapolis and Rehovot. We've provided an image of their artwork from this project celebrating the 70th birthday of Israel. We invite you to explore their websites for more. For larger images please go to Artist Partnerships where we present the work of the partnered artists, side by side.
Lucy Rose Fischer
Ann Ginsburgh Hofkin studied philosophy, mathematics, and music at Mount Holyoke College and earned her master’s from Bryn Mawr. In 2001, she participated in an artists’ exchange in Israel. She has had nine solo photography exhibitions in Israel, and one-person shows at venues such as Mount Holyoke College Art Museum in Massachusetts; A.I.R. Gallery and Weill Art Gallery in NYC and the Quarter Gallery, Regis Center, University of Minnesota. She is represented by A.I.R. Gallery in New York and Wendy Frieze Gallerist in Minneapolis. Her photographs are part of private and corporate collections, including the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Hennepin History Museum, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, 3M, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, Woodstock Center for Photography, Medtronic Corporation, University of St. Thomas, Jerusalem Theater (Israel), Poriya Hospital (Israel), Massachusetts General Hospital, Adath Jeshurun Congregation (MN), Park Nicollet Women’s Center (MN), and Fidelity Investments.
About the Artwork: As we approach the 70th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel, the Jewish People can look back at a rich albeit challenging history, a complicated state of current affairs presenting divergent opinions and interests, and a view toward the myriad of unknowns that lie in the future. We have our own country, yes, but now, what do we DO with it to uphold our ideals while addressing security and other critical factors? All of this underscores the need for dialogue and cooperation to “navigate” the many issues that surround us as we attempt to build a better future. My partner in this P2G artist exchange, Joelle Zajfman, and I incorporated something from the other’s artwork into our own respective pieces. I was immediately attracted to one of Joelle's bronze sculptures and incorporated it to symbolize a swimmer suspended in several layers of both turbulent and peaceful waters against a background of shifting sand. The reflective qualities of my medium symbolize the importance of being able/willing to look outward and inward simultaneously.
Medium: Dye Sublimation Print on Aluminum
Meryll Page is a teacher and writer. She has taught history and Jewish studies for 39 years. Meryll co-facilitated the Minneapolis Jewish Artists' Lab for the past five years. She also writes a weekly column for the synagogue newsletter connecting food and the weekly Torah portion. You can find both recipes and discussion at her Tasting Torah site. Meryll is a consultant to the Minnesota Humanities Center as they launch a feasibility study about setting up a Humanities Institute for Minnesota teachers and found time to write and publish a non-fiction work, Jewish Luck, co-authored with her sister.
About the Artwork: During our conversations about the verse, “Choose life,” Cheryl and I noted that the command is issued in the singular leading us to conclude that each individual in every generation has the obligation to actively choose life and choose how to perpetuate our people. When I visited Israel in October 2017, I had the opportunity to attend my cousin’s army ceremony. I am so proud of the choices he has already made at the tender age of 20. As I look ahead beyond Israel’s seventieth year, I feel confident in Israel’s future if it lies in the hands of Israelis like my cousin.
Medium: Photo and prose
An Ode to My First Cousin Once Removed Whose Boots are Firmly Planted in Eretz Yisrael
Your little boy body is encased in your newly sculpted soldier’s form.
Your sweet n’shama breathes through the slightly rumpled khaki.
Like your Ima you are not seduced by the glitter of your American family’s life.
Like your Abba you are immersed in Torah, gemilut hasadim, and the exhilaration of Israeli life.
Guided by your moral compass, you withhold judgment of others.
You embrace the contentiousness of your society.
You choose the challenging path when others shirk responsibility.
You choose the path of openness when others slam the doors to their minds.
You view a panorama of possibilities before you.
For the sake of your children and for all of Israel
You choose life.
Paula Leiter Pergament
Bonnie Rubinstein was born in Hewlett, New York, into a family working in the fashion industry. Her early passion for design and love for the natural world later combined, which resulted in obtaining an advanced degree in urban design / environmental planning. She was on site-specific design teams in NY, OH, CO and MN for public and private project spaces. She was on the lead design team for Beaver Creek Ski Resort, CO. Some years later, Bonnie designed and hand created an exclusive line of high-end fashion sculpted jewelry which sold nationwide. In 2002, while she was doing environmental consulting for businesses, Bonnie discovered fused glass, a fairly new glass studio material. She immediately, and with faith, bought a large kiln and built a glass-fusing and metal studio in a former big old Wisconsin dairy barn and became self-taught. There she creates large scale wall sculptures, light fixtures, sinks, and aerial sculptures.
About the Artwork: From Toledo, Spain, in the 14th Century, Judah Halevi wrote many prayers in the form of poetry. They often focused in his longing to be in Jerusalem. The fused glass imagery shows a poignant prayer floating from many small, diverse voices (the circular glass elements on the left), through the air, over land and sea to the heart of Israel to where Jerusalem is. Israel is represented on the right by the sparkling glass elements within the shape of Israel. The words are sandblasted in to show their lighter than air quality. They flow as if carried by the wind. Longing to be in Jerusalem is our forever constant as Jews. Personally, my love for that city compelled me to create this piece.
Medium: Fused Glass
For the past ten years, Susan Weinberg has focused her artwork on family and cultural history, exploring these themes through painting and narrative. With a deep interest in genealogy, Susan began her exploration with a series of artwork on her own family history. She expanded her focus to the countries from which family came, exploring the Holocaust and pre-war Jewish communities through artwork. In recent years, she developed an oral history project with elders, creating artwork, text and video that captured their stories, telling the story of the broader Jewish community and the three groups of Jewish immigrants who came to the US in the twentieth century. In 2017, she published We Spoke Jewish: A Legacy in Stories, a book of artwork and oral history that grew out of this project. Currently she is developing work around the theme of memory. Susan has done solo exhibitions locally and nationally as well as in Poland and the UK. (webmaster for p2gx.com)
About the Artwork: Irene and I agreed to represent the significance of the passage “Loving peace but knowing how to defend” (from the Declaration of the State of Israel). This expresses the delicate balance between vision and reality. In this work the vision of peace is expressed through a strand of DNA enclosing a quote from Isaiah 2:4 (nation shall not lift up sword against nation) and speaking to God’s call for us to “choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19). The flying birdlike scroll, from the first postage stamp with the name of Israel, represents the birth of the new nation. Contrasted with the vision of church, synagogue and mosque, all peacefully co-existing, is the line at the checkpoint, awaiting passage. The checkpoint sits atop a rocky promontory constructed of crushed egg shells representing the lives lost in the Shoah and the rebuilding upon that base of a new life in the State of Israel, albeit, an ever-vigilant existence focused on security.
Although my partner Irene and I approach our artwork differently, we both incorporated eggshells into this artwork. Other echoes were serendipitous. She makes use of the eye to represent vigilance. In my artwork, you will find echoes of the eye form in the composition of town and people and the eye-shaped form of the DNA which houses within it a call for peace, a juxtaposition of both peace and vigilance. The guard tower echoes the form of her cannons.
Medium: Mixed Media/Acrylic/ Eggshells
Irene Dym was born in Brussels, Belgium and educated in New York City. She immigrated to Israel with her family, settling in Rehovot where she attended art classes with a number of teachers, and studied printing techniques.. She continued formal studies at Bat Yam Institute of Art. In 1981 she became a member of the Tel Aviv Artist’s House. Since her first one-woman show in 1983, Irene has participated in many group shows in Israel and exhibitions in New York and Germany. Irene taught art printing techniques and courses in creativity at the Adult Education center of Rehovot from 1986-2005 and is one of the founding members of The Visual Arts Association where she serves on the management committee and as treasurer. Irene currently works with collage, adding acrylic and markers, often exploring the contrast between humanity’s civilized and primitive sides.
About the Artwork: My partner, Susan, and I decided to use a phrase from the Declaration of the State of Israel as our motif: "loving peace, but knowing how to defend." A circle of cannons is central to the work. In the center is a cannon in whose mouth rests the dream of peace. Matches also form a circle- ever ready to ignite. At the top and bottom of the work are figures representing the people who live here, their vigilance reflected in a central eye. The cannon is an ancient one as are our problems. The use of eggshells symbolizes the loss of life during the Shoah.
Susan commented on seeing my work that it reminded her of a "dream catcher" which I now understand is a circular form created by Native Americans to pull good dreams toward the dreamer and to block out the bad. Hopefully the dream of peace will be realized for Israel in the very near future.
Medium: serigraph, collage, eggshells, pencil and marker
Sabina Schkolnik Saad
Sabina Schkolnik Saad is a conceptual and multi-disciplinary artist. She was born in Italy where she studied art. She later made Aliyah in 1969. For many years she worked in her own farm on the moshav growing flowers. Twenty-five years ago she returned to art and studied at the Israel Museum. There she fell in love with Judaica and started creating drawings, paintings and paper cuttings. Sabina participates in exhibitions in Israel and around the world. Her work has been recognized by the Ministry of Education and Culture and her painting was printed on a plate that was offered to the late Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin and King Hussein of Jordan in honor of the peace accord between the two countries. Sabina enjoys wandering around in flea markets, buying objects that were of daily use in the past and incorporating them into her work with a different interpretation. (coordinator of P2G)
About the Artwork: I felt connected with Yehuda Halevi's poem " My heart is in the East " which for me symbolizes the essence of our common project,the Jews of Israel and Minneapolis.
I used objects I found in flea markets, vintage articles, cords connecting between two hangers symbolizing on one hand our life in Israel and on the other hand, the Jews of the Diaspora and what connects between us.
Medium: composition of vintage found objects
In 1963, Ruth Uhlmann migrated to Israel from Australia, continuing her study of art at several institutions. She has been working in three-dimensional mixed media since the late 1970s. With her “paper works” she cuts, folds, sticks on or presses into, leading to the casting of hand-made paper. Over the last couple of decades, she has moved to installations, mostly small and employing found objects combined with original pieces, often using natural products such as sand, wood, and rocks. Her work often conveys a socio-political message. She has exhibited throughout Israel, in Europe, USA, New Zealand and Australia. She is a member of the Israel Artists’ Association and the Israel Miniatures Association, a founding member of Artin, The Visual Art Association of Rehovet for whom she works as a curator. She has taught art and printmaking to adults and children for over thirty years.
About the Artwork: 70 seeds (pits from Syrian olives) are set into the Star of David, one for each year of Israel's existence and, in good Israeli tradition when decorating a cake with candles, an extra one (hanging from the tree) for the year to come. The two hamsot - adopted symbols denoting Judaism - are holding a section of the world showing Israel in the centre, the world dependent on Judaism, and the claws being a warning against fundamentalism. The tree (an olive branch wrapped in paper fibres) is not only a symbol of peace, but also of the Tree of Life - the Utopian dream that the world will be able to live in peace forever. All issuing from the Torah where it all began.
Medium: Paper mache
Rivka Uziel was born in Bulgaria. She is married and the mother of four. Rivka originally trained for her career teaching high school, later getting additional degrees from the University of Tel-Aviv studying Hebrew Literature/Bible as well as from the Tel Aviv School of Art. Rivka has been engaged in artistic activities for the past twenty-five years and is a member of the Ugandan Artist Association. She has presented her works in a number of exhibitions. She lectured at the Department of Fine Arts at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda and curates an annual art exhibition of the Makarere University School of Fine Arts. Rivka is a member of the Israel Painters and Sculptors Association, the Israeli Association of Plastic Arts, and the Rehovot Artists Association. Her works decorate public institutions such as the Weismann Institute of Science, and the city halls of Ramla and Rishon Letzion (Israel) and Entebbe Airport, Uganda.
About the Artwork: My choice of the biblical story of the spies was not by chance. It shows the ability of individuals to influence history by standing up for their beliefs and by their perseverance. Most of the spies slandered Israel, but two spies brought proof of all the good in Israel and helped the process of entering Israel.
The belief of a few and their perseverance is a symbol for us until this day. They played an important part in the establishment of the State of Israel.
Medium: mixed medium acrylic and sand
Cheryl Locketz Veiner
Cheryl Locketz Veiner finds her inspiration in nature and music and is drawn to Jewish content. She has roots in both Minnesota and Israel, having been born in Minnesota where she graduated with an art major from the University of Minnesota. She went on to study art in New York, Milan, and Tel Aviv. In 1980 she made Aliyah with her husband and two daughters. Cheryl has done illustration work in the US and Israel. Today she enjoys working with pastels, oils and watercolor. She exhibits her paintings in Israel and has applied her talents to illustrating a children’s book. Her philosophy is simply "Just Do It." Growing up with disciplined classical musicians taught her to not wait for "The Muse" to show up. (coordinator of P2G)
About the Artwork: This work was inspired by the passage in Deuteronomy 30:19 “...choose life so that you may live, you and your seed.”
As we gaze from our miraculous present, while holding hands with our promising future, we carry with us our ancient, living past. In my painting, “our present” is symbolized by the tallit-Israeli flag-draped figure, who holds hands with “our future “ symbolized by the children. Together they go forward with the consciousness of “our past," the antisemitism symbolized by the pyramids of Egypt, J’accuse (Dreyfus trial) and the Holocaust, to the Miracles symbolized by the splitting of the Reed (Red) Sea and to being a “Light Unto Nations” symbolized by the Ten Commandments, the Shabbat (candles) and Jerusalem.
The Jewish People chose, are choosing and with God’s help will always Choose Life.
Medium: oil on canvas
Joelle Zajfman grew up in France, arriving in Israel in her twenties to study physics. After completing her master's degree in physics and working in research, she turned to art. Her work in sculpture and jewelry design, is influenced by her scientific experience as well as her fascination with the complexity of the forms and structure of the material, from which she finds an infinite repertoire of surprising patterns. Her work in sculpture begins with pencil sketches or clay. Her clay figures are later cast in bronze, often female figures that express the intensity, power and delicacy of the female body. Her jewelry also makes use of sculptural forms. Physical contact with the material as she shapes it with her own hands is an important part of her process as is exploring hidden sides of her own personality.
About the Artwork: As soon as Ann, who is my partner in the “Minneapolis-Rehovot” art project sent me her photographic work, I immediately liked it. It took a very short time for both of us to decide to use the work of each other. In the work displayed here, the black and white background is a photo that Ann took in the Negev desert in Israel. The addition of color on the black and white landscape symbolizes the evolution and development of Israel. The tree on the hill is a picture of one of my sculpture, painted in blue and white, the Israeli flag’s color. The inside part of the tree, depicting the wailing wall, is a reminder of the conflicts taking place in Israel, while the outer part is an attempt to describe the hope suggested by the crossing of the Red Sea.
Medium: mixed media: paper, modeling paste, watercolor
Webmaster Susan Weinberg