ICC Contemporary Gallery Binyaney Ha’ooma
March 13 – April 27, 1996
Edna Ramot, Director
Daphna Naor, Curator and Coordinator
Ravel Pittman and Elena Siff, Contacts
The WBB Exhibition in Israel was dedicated to the memory of Ruth Baram, a passionate patron of the arts and a driving force behind reshaping the ICC Jerusalem International Convention Center. Ruth successfully pushed for the open display of art throughout the public building, with the inclusion of local as well as international works. Blessed with the spirit of inquisitiveness, Ruth was constantly in search of the meaning of life through art.
ARTIST NETWORK BEGINS
Women Beyond Borders is an expression of the desire to establish a network of female artists who maintain an international dialogue and engage in mutual visits and joint exhibitions and publications. Worldwide parameters of communication have been made possible with the opening of a WBB Internet site.
For the dozens of artists who took up the challenge, the boxes serve as an impetus for a journey into their own inner enchanted worlds to distant temples, longings for a different reality, or expressions of secret hopes. Some artists found in their boxes a means of expressing pain, missed opportunities and despair. Others saw the small boxes as cells of communication through which they shot arrows of humor, optimism and power. Others rebelled against the box, challenging their physical boundaries and went beyond.
Jennifer Bar Lev – Fire – Israel
Fire is an important symbol in the Jewish culture. There are many passages in the Bible condemning pagan ritual sacrifices at altars in the forest, and extolling proper burnt sacrifices to the One God:
“…then shalt Thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness with burnt offering…” (Psalm LI: 21)
There are many holidays in which fire plays an important part: Lag BaOmer, when bonfires are made as an echo of the signal fires lit against the Romans during the Bar Kochba rebellion; Hannuka, when the miracle of a lamp containing oil enough for a day burned for eight; the tradition of “soul candles,” which burn for 24 hours on the anniversary of the death of a close family member.
But perhaps the most constant and important fire in Judaism is the Sabbath candles, to be lit on Friday eve by every daughter of Israel. I see the Sabbath candles as a symbol of home and the woman’s duty and privilege to protect and care for her family, physically and spiritually.
My piece contains an unlit Sabbath candle to remind myself that no matter how much women expand our potential as human beings, the role of homemaker is a very profound commitment. It provides the foundation of faith upon which miracles can grow.
Historically, a box is a chest for treasures, a memory of a holy place, a womb or a tomb and linked with gift. These connotations are linked with intimate secret objects that create a space for personal meaning, a diary for sharing ideas with oneself, a place for the safekeeping of memories, for preserving culture, a place to hide from others. It can be viewed as a ‘box of secrets’ which brings a woman closer to her soul and, like a mirror, helps to recognize herself and to define her identity.
– Dr. Talya Birkhahn, Israeli Philosopher of Education
Santa Barbara, California artists Lorraine Serena and Elena Siff have initiated an international exhibition of women. They wished to express the recent revolution in women’s art that has taken place in recent decades, at the end of the century, in which women broke through socioeconomic boundaries women’s contribution to art is no longer that of someone sitting on the sidelines, but rather, that of a securely situated, confident individuals whose critique can contribute and enrich the central discussion and execution.
They sent miniature wooden boxes to female artists throughout the world. The boxes were originally intended to serve as channels of inter-cultural communication: it seemed that their uniformity would highlight the differences and diversity.
Among an international spectrum of artists. The dozens of artists who took up the challenge, the boxes served as an impetus for a journey into their own inner enchanted worlds to distant temples, a longing for a different reality, or an expression of secret hopes. Some of the artists found in their boxes a means of expressing pain, as they are “withdrawn” or embody missed opportunities and dispair. Others, however, saw the small boxes as cells of communication through which to shoot arrows of humor, optimism, and power. Some of them rebelled against the box, challenged their physical boundaries, and went beyond them.
– Daphna Naor