Gifts from the promised land

Gifts from the promised land

Israel takes the spotlight in the city this month for the Days of Israeli Art and Culture festival.

Published: July 4, 2012 (Issue # 1716)

Paintings by children from the city of Sderot are on show at Tsiferblat.

Culture from the promised land will abound in the city for much of this month as the Days of Israeli Art and Culture in Russia festival gets under way, offering the chance to experience Jewish culture with the aim of promoting understanding between the two nations. Exhibitions, lectures, workshops and the presentation of new art projects will take place around the city through July 22.

The project kicked off on July 1 with an exhibit of student paintings created by schoolchildren from the southern Israeli city of Sderot, located about a kilometer from Gaza. Their artwork, shown in the Tsiferblat free space café at 81 Nevsky Prospekt, reflects everyday life in the city, which is on the border of war and peace.

This is the first large festival devoted to Israeli art to be held in St. Petersburg. According to Maria Vulfova, the project’s main organizer, the project “started from one small idea to organize an exhibit in St. Petersburg,” but gained momentum and grew into a larger project when various Jewish organizations and the city’s Israeli Cultural Center heard about it.

Work by Viktor Brindatch is on show at the other Tsiferblat branch.

More exhibits are on display at the other Tsiferblat branch at 32 Nevsky Prospekt, where colorful, upbeat canvases from artists Malka Tsentsiper and Viktor Brindatch that play with the Hebrew alphabet are on show.

The Molbert Art Gallery is hosting a 29-piece exhibition that opens July 7, dedicated to the 125th anniversary of the birth of Jewish artist Marc Chagall. The exhibit, titled “Following in Chagall’s Footsteps in Israel,” runs through July 22.

One of the project’s main organizers is Omanoot, an independent international project that focuses on bringing creative people together and presenting modern Israeli art in different countries. The organization, whose name means “art” in Hebrew, works in France, Germany, the U.S., Turkey, Ukraine and other countries. Omanoot’s project in Russia consists of cultural and educational events made possible through the participation of popular Israeli and Russian artists and helps those interested establish contacts in the sphere of arts and culture.

The organizers hope that the festival will become an annual event.

“There are some stereotypes about Israel in Russia and the same about Russia in Israel that prevail in the minds of young people,” said Vulfova.

“Older generations [of Russians and Israelis] still keep in touch with each other, while there are gaps in understanding each other’s lifestyles and everyday realities among the younger generations in both countries. The aim of this project is to provide a cultural exchange between nations and help people make new contacts.”

The organizers of the Days of Israeli Art and Culture in Russia hope the festival will become an annual event, and that it will take place again next year — the 65th anniversary of the founding of the modern state of Israel.

The Days of Israeli Art and Culture in St. Petersburg festival runs through July 22.

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