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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Charedi Gallery

Interesting piece here about an art gallery that the man behind it calls "the only Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) gallery in Israel, in the world, in history." The man who started the endeavor is Ika Yisraeli, a man with a great passion for the arts who found his chances to expose himself to them greatly fettered when he became Orthodox decades ago. He stopped attending movies, and found that he was not confortable attending secular art galleries because, according to Haaretz,
he does not have any control over what happens there. Not on what is displayed, and not on the gathering of men and women together. "Most galleries are open on the Sabbath, and besides that, I can never know what they will be exhibiting in the space next to mine. For instance, The Jerusalem Artists House is closed on the Sabbath, and in those terms is fine, but next door to the hall in which I was supposed to exhibit was an exhibition of nude paintings. I cannot invite people to my exhibition and cause them to see those sort of pictures."
So Yisraeli decided to start a gallery that displays works by Charedi artists - mostly newly religious, and that is geared toward the Charedi consumer. The gallery is not open on Shabbat, and presumably the subject matter of the works displayed are always within the parameters of the modesty dictated by halacha.

Unfortunately, one of the problems that the gallery faces is its lack of lucrativeness. The Charedi world in Israel is one of the most poverty-stricken demographics there, and presumably unable to spend the thousands that the artwork in the gallery commands. Yisraeli says he is trying to solve that problem by marketing a more affordable product:
The Haredi sector does not have NIS 5,000 for a painting, and Ika Yisraeli has a new idea. "We intend to print paintings of about 20 artists using a relatively new technique of printing on canvas. We'll sell them at NIS 600 each. Right now, we are trying to raise the initial investment funding."
I wish him much luck in this fascinating endeavor.

12 Comments:

Blogger Jack's Shack said...

That is interesting. I think that I'll include it in this next edition of Havel Havalim.

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the man needs, is to post a small ad in the Plaza, and the Citadel, where every Bourgoise, (I know it's spelled wrong, but I don't care)Chareidi-American visitor looking for something origional to bring back to America will be beating down his door.

10:32 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I totally agree, anon. This is something i think Charedi Americans - especially NYers, could really get excited about.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Wow, fascinating: And really great to see. I have a couple young cousins who are extremely talented [one made a painting when she was 12 for our wedding - people have come in and commented on, and are amazed when I tell them it's a 12-yr old caharedi], but I was always thinking that it's too bad that Charedim have no real way of pursuing a future in art at a certain point. Now, maybe they will.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting story.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Frummer????? said...

Why oh why am I not surprised to read his comments!

"They buy landscapes of Romania painted in Hong Kong, for NIS 50," says Yisraeli. "They have to be educated to have better taste, better taste in the aesthetic sense," he says. In the meantime, the educational effort has stalled."

Chareidim are not into "the arts". Never have been, and never will be.

A painting of a Rebbe will go, whatever it looks like. Show them a painting with "meaning" with some depth, they won't have a clue what you are on about!

12:35 PM  
Anonymous shanna said...

So Yisraeli decided to start a gallery that displays works by Charedi artists - mostly newly religious, and that is geared toward the Charedi consumer

And therein lies the problem. Charedim (in general) don't value education in the arts, and so this sort of talent dies out after one generation. Most of these artists developed skills by studying art that charedim would not even look at. The same issues comes up with, for example, Matisyahu - his work is heavily influenced by music he never would have heard had be been brought up in the community he now embraces. Of course the charedim have limited (if any) appreciation for this art - they have no context for it, and do not teach their children to value it.

4:10 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I hear you , Shanna, but I'm not sure I am as upset about it as you are. That's just a fact of Charedi upbringing. Luckily, though, there is a large Chozer Betshuva population that will be able to continue enlightening the Charedi world. Everyone brings different talents and skills to the table.

10:16 PM  
Anonymous SephardiLady said...

I don't think there are that many opportunities for the Chozer Betshuva population to "enlighten" their FFB counterparts. In fact, if anything, the BT's hide in shame from their unique interests in the arts, theatre, dance, music, etc.

Certainly their are exceptions. But, oftentimes observance spells an end to the continuation of pursuing other extra-curricular interests.

11:00 PM  
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1:41 PM  
Blogger Rabbi Lars Shalom said...

yes thats special

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