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\ff"r lOOK ~70
BENEFICIARIES OF BROCHURE BIOGRAPHIES OF ARTISTS Arthur da Silva Azevedo
Pauline Battigelli ....
Robert Paul· ....
Niel Patrick Sivewright Park Com Ylannakis
T engenenge Art Centre
.... . ... .... 11
59 UNION OF JEWISH WOMEN EXHIBITIONS ART TRENDS TODAY by Noel Hamlyn JEWISH ART THROUGH THE AGES .... WORSHIP AND ART .... . ...
AIMS AND OBJECTS OF THE U.1.W.
ST. GILES MEDICAL REHABILITATION CENTRE
St. Giles is a modern medical Rehabilitation Centre providing a full range of services required for the treatment and training of both adults and children with all types of physical handicaps. The services, which are carried out under the guidance of honorary medical consultants, include:-
1. Physio, speech and occupational therapy (including work assessment, training in independence, workshop therapy and placement in suitable employment).
2. Psychological assessment and guidance.
3. Specialised' nursery and primary schooling for children, inclljding deaf children, run by the Government Education Department.
4. Residential accommodation and physical recreation adapted to their individual abilities.
St. Giles is the only centre in Hhodesia which provides sheltered employment and adult rehabilitation in addition to the children's school and treatment centre for Europeans, Coloureds and Asians.
No patient requiring treatment at St. Giles is ever refused because of a genuine inability to pay. With the increasing demands which are being made for the facilities provided, expansion is necessary and urgent.
SAVYON LODGE - THE CENTRAL AFRICAN HOME FOR THE JEWISH AGED.-
Although the idea of establishing a home for the Jewish aged was discussed as far back as 1959, it was not until December, 1960, that a public meeting of the Jewish community, held in the Guild Hall, Bulawayo, resolved that the project be proceeded with as speedily as possible. By September, 1961, a constitution for the Home had been approved, and the first committee began their quest for funds. Thanks to the generOSity of various members of the Rhoesian Jewish community, the Rhodesian Government, the State Lotteries Trustees, the City of Bulawayo, various Jewish organisations and societies, Synagogue offerings, donations in kind, membership subscriptions, memorial bequests, en-
dowments and wills, the plan for bulldlnq the Home took practical form.
At the end of July, 1967, the first residents were welcomed into Savyon Lodge, where they found a home from which had been eliminated every vestige of an "institutional" atmosphere, and where comfort and a dignified and traditional way of life were amongst the more important considerations. The Home is filled to capacity, with residents from all over Hhodesla, and there is a waiting list. Plans are in hand for extending the north wing of the Home to add extra bedroom acommodation and various other amenities.
THE CHILDREN'S WARDS - HARARI HOSPITAL
The African children's ward was part of the female medical ward at the old African hospital in North Avenue until 1968, when it was moved to Harari Hospital. There are three children's wards; two medical and one surgical. On the medical side the Housemen alternate between the two wards and, in addition, cover the Neonatal Unit which is situated in the Maternity block, and the Hydration Unit. This unit is in the Outpatient Department so that children suffering from gastro-enteritis can be isolated and treated there, away from the general children's wards.
There is also a Nutrition Centre, which is an intermediate stage between hospital and home for the malnourished children, including cases of Kwashiorkor. When the child is over the acute stage of the illness, it is transferred to this Centre and the mother is admitted there with the child. She is taught how to supplement the traditional African diet with the protein foods her child needs. The emphasis is therefore on health education, and instruction includes the growing of vegetables in the adjacent vegetable plot.
At Makerere University Hospital, Kampala, cooking facilities in the Nutrition Centre are essentially the same as those in the average African home - in other words, the cooking is done over an open fire in a hut. It is hoped to introduce a similar method at Harari Hospital. The contribution made by the Union of Jewish Women will assist in the establishment of this necessary addition to the Nutrition Centre.
Arthur Azevedo was born in Salisbury in 1935 and was educated at St. John's Schoof. Avondale. As a teacher trainee at St. Augustine's Training College, Cape Town, he received his first formal art lessons, although his interest in art had developed at an early age. In 1956, he went to Italy, where he studied for the priesthood for several years. He spent his vacations painting in the Castelli Romani and had private lessons with Gustavo SoHmene. He later changed his plans and, after touring Germany and Austria, he returned to Salisbury in 1962. He is at present teaching Art, Scripture and Physical Education at St. John's School.
Azevedo exhibited mosaic work and paintings at the 1963 Federal Exhibition. His interest in sculpture grew but, as he had no means to cast in bronze, he decided to try scrap metal sculpture, with ideas and techniques which he had worked out experimentally. He has exhibited at most of the Annual Exhibitions at the Rhodes National GaJlery and his work has also been shown at the Commonwealth Arts Festivals. His work has been purchased by the National Gallery and private collectors, including Lady Courtauld.
Pauline Battigelli was born in Umtali and educated in Salisbury. She studied Arts and Crafts at Regent Street Polytechnic, London, with emphasis on stage decor and painting. On her return to Salisbury, she worked for a while with an exhibitions firm. She has exhibited locally and her work has been shown regularly since 1962 at the Rhodes. National Gallery annual exhibitions. Some of her work has recently been purchased by the National Gallery. Pauline works at home mainly on portraiture and illustration, and has recently completed work on Cathedral murals. She has also painted murals at several rural churches, some of them while she was still at school. She has designed sets and costumes for local stage productions.
Pauline is married to the photographer, 110 the Pirate, and they have two small daughters.
John Hlatywayo was born at Chipinga. He trained at the Polly Street Art Centre, Johannesburg, under Cecil Skotnes, and also. with George Boys, VicePrincipal of the School of Art, Johannesburg. He had his first one-man show in 1961 at Constantia Gallery, Johannesburg. His paintings have been shown overseas in the Commonwealth Institute's Exhibition of Contemporary African Art in London. as well as in Cape Town and Salisbury. His work has appeared in most of the Fame and Promise art exhibitions. JohnHlatywayo was awarded first prize in painting at an exhibition organised in Johannesburg in 1960. His most recent exhibition took place at his studio in Harari in 1969.
Patrons of his work include the Rhodes National Gallery, the Trustees of Modern Art, New York, and the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C. Among his more unique assignments have been the designing of the stained glass window for Chikore Secondary School's chapel and the jacket cover for a record by Abraham Maraire.
Robert Paul was born in Surrey, England, in 1906.
He studied art at The Wilson School of Art in London. He first exhibited in the Daily Express Young Artists' Exhibition in the 1920's. In 1927, he came to Rhodesia to join the B.S.A. Police and subsequently went into the army. He is now retired and is a full-time painter.
Robert Paul's work has been purchased by the Wellington Club, London, the M.C.C. Gallery at Lords. The Rhodes National Gallery, Rhodesian Breweries, The Thomas Meikle. Trust and Investment Company, Edwards Pooley and Company and many others. He has been referred to as one of Rhodesia's most accomplished creative artists.
Neil Park was born in Shabani in 1938 and went to Plumtree School and Selborne College, where he represented Border at rugby and athletics. He worked on a mine on the Copperbelt before coming to Salisbury, where he is a professional journalist. His poetry and short stories have been published in international literary publications, such as the Anthology of Contemporary Voices (Michael Joseph's), and translated into French, German and Czech. He has been drawing and painting for most of his life. He has established a reputation in South Africa and his work is in some important collections there. His most recent one-man show was at Gallery Brevan in Cape Town in August, 1970. Neil Park has accepted an invitation from a London Gallery to exhibit in Britain in 1972. This is the first major showing of his work in Salisbury.
Com Yiannakis was born in Blantyre, Malawi, in 1948, and attended St. Andrew's High School, Blantyre, and Prince Edward School, Salisbury. After leaving school, he embarked on a scientific career, training as a laboratory technician, and it was during this time that his interest in art developed. A former National League footballer, Com decided he had to make a choice between football and art. Art won, and he subsequently rented a studio. He is completely self-taught and has been painting for only 18 months. His earlier work was encouraged by several local artists and a local art supplier, who sponsored the first exhibition of his work in April, 1970.
The main influence in Com's work is that of the French and Dutch Impressionists:-
"Colour represents the soul of any subject: smell, touch and feeling."
Photo: "Rhodesia Herald"
The Salisbury Branch of the Union of jewish Women has organised and sponsored several exhibitions during the past few years. In July, 1966, the Adult Education Division of the U.J.W., in conjunction with the Salisbury Women's Zionist League, arranged a Bible Exhibition, which was held at the Rhodes National Gallery. The exhibition consisted of a display of nearly one hundred 'Bibles, dating from the 15th Century to the present time, and included a page of the Gutenberg Bible, dated 1452. The Bibles were most attractively arranged against a background of a painting by Correggio of "David and Goliath", a sculpture by Lippy l.rpshltz of the "Head of Moses" and a silk Kashan carpet depicting the "Offering of Isaac". Talks and a symposium on Biblical themes were held in conjunction with the Exhibition. There was also a display of stamps showing the place of animals and personalities mentioned in the Bible. Many examples of ceremonial art objects used in synagogues and in the home were exhibited, including an exquisitely tooled Sephardi Silver Shrine from the 16th Century. Another interesting feature of the exhibition was a display of plants of the Bible.
In August, 1968, we ventured into a new field when we sponsored and organised an exhibition of paintings by the Rhodesian artist, Ann UndsellStewart. Sir Athol Evans, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Rhodes National Gallery, officially opened the exhibition, which was held at the Salisbury showroom of Henri lidchi. As this was the first exhibition of its kind in Salisbury, with part proceeds going towards local charities, it aroused a great deal of public interest. Ann Lindsell-Stewart had previously exhibited in London, Paris, South Africa and Zambia. 'Her Salisbury exhibition, which was on view for a week, proved most successful and attracted large numbers of people. including groups of art students from local high schools. As a result of this highly successful venture, the U.J .W. was able to make substantial contributions to the Runyararo Nursery School and the Blood Transfusion Building Centre Fund. In addition, a pastel portrait, kindly donated by Mrs. Lindsel!-Stewart, was raffled in aid of the Rhodesia Children's Home jubilee Year.
Early in 1969, a young Israeli artist, Mooni Ezra, visited Salisbury. His interview on a television pro-
gramme attracted the attention of one of our members and, as a result, we approached him with a view to organising an exhibition of his work. The necessary arrangements were made and we were fortunate enough to obtain the use of an empty shop in the Pearl Assurance building in which to hold the exhibition for one week .. We considered it a great honour that Mr. Frank McEwen, the Director of the National Gallery, consented to open this exhibition, which he described as "exciting and joyful". The unusual batiks, lithographs and drawings of Mooni Ezra aroused much interest and comment. This exhibition was also very well attended by the Salisbury public and large numbers of high school students. Once again, part proceeds of works sold at the exhibition were allocated to local charities - the Dorothy Duncan Centre and the Arcadia Girls' Hostel - while the Salisbury SOCiety for the Care of the African Mentally Handicapped benefited from the proceeds of the raffle of a lithograph kindly donated by Mr. Ezra.
In November, 1969, we once again ventured into the field of promoting an art exhibition in Salisbury. This time, we sponsored a most successful [oint exhibition of the wall hangings, plaques and paintings of the Bulawayo artist, Leonora Kibei, together with the pottery of Janina Mackenzie of Salisbury. The exhibition was held in the Salisbury showroom of Henri Lidchi and was greatly enhanced by the background of exquisite Persian carpets. Mr. Frank McEwen who, once again, honoured us by opening this exhibition, praised the work of both artists and commented on the high standard achieved in the work on display. This exhibition also attracted large numbers of viewers during the five days that it remained open. The Marriage GUidance Society, Hornefteld Farm (Hopelands Trust), the Mayor's Xmas Cheer Fund and the Sponsor-a-Child Campaign for Israel all benefited from the proceeds of the exhibition. Leonora Kibei and Janlne Mackenzie kindly donated a wall hanging and a pottel'y platter, which were raffled in aid of St. Giles Rehabilitation Centre and the Shearly Cripps African Children's Home.
This year, 1970, we have Widened our field by sponsoring an exhibition of the work of a number of artists and sculptors, whose biographies appear in another section of this brochure. We are grateful
Union of Jewish Women Exhibitions (eontd.)
for their participation and we are sure that the Salisbury public will enjoy viewing the varied work on display. Those exhibiting are:-
Arthur da Silva Azevedo Pauline Battigelli
Neil Patrick Sivewright Park Robert Paul
Tengenenge Gallery sculptors (by kind permission of Mr. Tom Blomefield)
Part proceeds of the sales at this exhibition will be allocated to local charities .
. We are indeed fortunate to have the use of the new Salisbury showroom of Henri Lidchi for this exhibition. The Union of Jewish Women, Salisbury Branch, is most appreciative of the charming and helpful co-operation which we have always received from Mr. L. Czismadia and his staff.
The interest and support which the general public has always given to our ventures has been most heartening, and the generosity of our advertisers has made it possible for us to assist many worthy causes.
In the broadest terms, the aims of our organisation are education, service and goodwill. Our programme throughout the year is arranged to promote these aims and the art exhibitions which we have sponsored, as one aspect of our activities, have enabled us to contribute both financially and culturally to the community in which we live.
A tremendous challenge faces Rhodesian art and its artists, a challenge and a responsibility. The imperative need is for honest and courageous expression to give shape and colour to the excitements and agonies of development, the growing pains of a country and nation. But this demands more than ordinary perception; it demands, also, a sense of destiny and direction.
The contact in this country with world forces and movements in art is, at best, tenuous. In itself, isolation for our art need not be a bad thing and there ···is more than sufficient raw material in Rhodesia from which the mind and sensibilities of the artist can draw inspiration. Too close a contact with other art influences, also, could mean a stultification of original inventiveness - an easier and lazier tendency to copy and feed on the thinking. already pioneered by others. But, at the same time, it is an inescapable fact that association with other art forces does stimulate creative activity.
For the most part, this vitalising and critical contact is non-existent here. The consequent manifestation of this is a rash of amateurs and dilettantes whose work is unlikely ever to ascend beyond the level of the polite "accomplishment" so beloved in Victorian times and where, indeed, it properly belongs.
Something must be said, if art is to have validity.
It is not enough merely to reproduce shallow images, no matter how well and faithfully executed, to mirror only the obvious surface. The statement must take account of fundamental issues. There must be passion, the feel and smell of authenticity.
The form or style which an artist's expression takes matters little, be it abstractions or readily recognisable realism - it is his integrity, his sincerity of purpose that counts. This is the force which drives him on, permanentfy questing, searching always for an essence, a truth. And without this force, art is dead, its portrayals nothing more than varying patterns of technical formulae, decorative perhaps but without intrinsic purpose.
One of the major functions of art is to reflect the moods and nuances of the age, and to synthesise the truths, The great tides of human civilisation surge and ebb, and, Itke.wave marks on a beach, art leaves its record ofhurnantty's endeavour, collecting and settling patterns from the flotsam and
"r·~ .. ~\. e
residues of the deep for reading and interpretation: it was thus and thus. Art must identify itself with the times, but it must also open a way to the future.
How far does art go today towards meeting these requirements and what are the trends? Particularly, where does art stand in Rhodesia?
In this .country, the art scene has barely been touched by the convulsions and explosions of Op and Pop art, which appear to have had some considerable impact in the United States and Britain. This is not surprising, for just as it has frequently been said, disparagingly, that local experimentation with abstract expression or with some other of the "isms" of world art movements is often 20 or 30 years behind the times, so Op and Pop concepts are largely out of character and context with Rhodesia's surroundings and its social development.
These movements are related more essentially to the machine age of nations and countries more intensely industrialised than Rhodesia, and it would be palpably false for artists here to become wholly preoccupied with the ideas they express. This is not to say that painters and sculptors should not draw on the inspirations of our own growing industrial complex to create artistic works: they should, for it is an increasingly important and essential part of our development. But mainly, the country is still rural and agricultural, with social forces and problems relevant to such an environment, and to concentrate art on the industrial. stimulae exelusively for expression would be to ignore the proper sense of balance.
It should be remembered that the great breakaway from the hidebound rules and concepts of traditional artistlc acceptability in expression came in Europe at the end of the last century when the challenge of industrialisation to the human spirit was at its height. We are conditioned and adapted to it now; it is part of the norm, but at that time the problems were real and urgent. But even the imagined threat to art posed by the invention of the camera never fully matched the fears that were felt, and a whole new set of circumstances became relevant and art took on new dimensions, which reached a peak during the early part of this
By Noel Hamlyn
century, and it seized a freedom which would never be allowed from its grasp.
The art forms and styles of the contemporary age are little more than an evolution from those great currents of inspiration which had swept the world. It would be difficult to point to any fundamentally new direction, in the artistic sense, which has been delineated since that time.
What has developed, enormously, is the choice of materials as the vehicle of expression - the triumph of colour for its own sake and the introduction of a wide range of new substances which can give greater scope and dimension to the artist's creative inspiration.
Ponderous, sometimes clumsy and ugly, or vibrant and soaring to ever higher excitements, art today must be seen and judged in the context of contemporary living in an age when electronic devices have become commonplace adjuncts to daily activity and man has reached for and set foot on the Moon.
In Rhodesia, the establishment during Federal days of the Rhodes National Gallery shocked a complacently comfortable populace into an awareness that there was something more to art than insipid water-colours, pretty landscapes and flower pieces.
The weighty impact of some fine exhibitions of works of international class and repute left their mark, and though a hot controversy raged - and rages still in some quarters - the fact remains that the Gallery opened the way for a fresh approach to and Ol tlook on art in this country.
Suddenly, art took on a deeper and more forceful meaning. A new crop of artists emerged - some with serious intent and a fire of purpose in their minds, some hopefully exploiting the currents of emotion - and even among those who had been dabbling absent-mindedly with brush and paint there were some who found inspiration and a route to more significant things.
There followed a period of feverish productivity, a move to the grander scale of larger canvases and burning colour, more decisive vision and line. Not all of it, alas, was good and some of it was by no means original, but the urgency of activity, the compulsion to do something, kept alive the hope that work of creative value would result.
This has been true to a greater extent, probably, than is generally realised. In a total community as small as this in Rhodesia the proportion of people attempting some sort of artistic endeavour, seeking to express themselves in paint. stone or other media, is high. And although. net unnaturally, much of the resultant production .s frankly disappointing, there has been progress and some highly creditable, even spme outstanding, works of art have been created.
In the current phase of the country's artistic development it would be difficult to define any clearcut trend. Momentum among the painters, except for a few of the most competent, appears to have lost force temporarily and, in general terms, the work in this medium of expression presents more disappointments than excitements. Paradoxically, painting is in the throes of intense activity and there must presently be more one-man exhibitions in Salisbury per head of population than almost anywhere else in the world. Some of these exhibitions, however, should not be held at all as the painters are not ready to face the public.
Perhaps the most significant growth point of Rhodesian art at this stage is in sculpture. Several factors have combined to account for this - the
Art Trends Today (contd.)
ready availability of fine stone, especially the dark serpentine; the generous encouragement given to African artists and workers in this field; and, one might say, a period of fashion in the medium.
Some splendidly inspired and provoking work has been produced by our sculptors and the volume of output, especially from the African groups and schools, is prodigious. But a pause for thought is needed here, too. The bulk of this work expresses themes and ideas from the traditional half-world of human-animal-spirit tribal mlstlque. Some of it is very fine sculpture, indeed, but when all the heads and shapes have been counted and the boredom of repetitiveness sets in, something more dynamic and far-reaching will be needed.
What about the shape, the form and the explosive drama of the African's collision with a highly sophisticated, industrial and computerised world? This is a field of enormous possibilities.
"Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth."
Many cultured people throughout the centuries have been perplexed by the all-inclusive prohibition against representational art of the Second Commandment. QUite demonstrably, it was the image - worship (practised in contemporary religions) which the ancient Israelites so abhorred, that inspired this prohibition. It paralyzed, although not to the extent popularly believed, the creation of painting and sculpture among Jews during much of their long history. This fear of animistic imageworship was very real and threatening to the worship of the One God, in the judgement of 'Moses, the Prophets and later Jewish religious teachers. The historical fact is that the ancient Jews, like all other peoples of those times, were never quite free of the inclination to idol-worship. In recent decades, archaeologists have unearthed, in the State of Israel, clay figurines attributed to the early period of the Second Temple. Jewish theological belief in the Oneness and Unity of God existed as a small island of dissent that was fixed precariously in the middle. of a raging sea of idolatry which constantly threatened to engulf it.
There were long stretches of time, in particular Jewish communities, when the Biblical prohibition against graven images was scrupulously observed. In such periods, it was practically impossible for Jews to make representations of any kind, yet in different historical settings, all kinds of permissive exceptions were sanctioned by broad-minded Rabbis. One single interpretation of the Second Commandment has not always prevailed and at various times a compelling need Was found for artistic creation, especially during such epochs as the Hellenistic and the Italian Renaissance, when architecture, painting and sculpture achieved such a high valuation in society.
During the Middle Ages in Western Europe, when sculptured likenesses of people or of animals were forbidden by some religious authorities, the execution of paintings on synagogue walls was somehow tolerated so long as they did not depict the
human face and figure. In the Rhineland, some Rabbis specifically banned the painting of frescoes and murals in the synagogues, claiming that they were too distracting to allow proper worship. However, they permitted artist-craftsmen to carve out on the massive wooden street-doors of the synagogues, representations of animals, flowers and the Tree of life.
In every generation, strict traditionalists among the RabbiS refused to deviate whatsoever from the law and condemned the watering down of the Second Commandment. But a view diametrically opposite to thiswas apparently held by some Habbis of the fifth century C.E. In the exquisite mosaic floor of the Bet-Alpha Synagogue, which was uncovered by archaeologists in 1933, there is a remarkable symbolic representation of the sun executed in the Hellenistic manner. This discovery both astonished and puzzled some students of Biblical culture, who could explain it only as being a phenomenon, unique and exceptional. This theory had to be sharply revised a few years later, when the thirdcentury synagogue of Dura-Europos, in lower Syria, was uncovered. From the Greek inscriptions on the wall-paintings in the synagogue, it appeared that the structure had been rebuilt in 245 C.E. by a certain Samuel with the assistance of other pious Jews of Dura. A Christian church erected in 232, and situated practically next door, was dug up at the same time, and it is interesting to note that the murals in both are of the same general artistic character and paintedh; the Hellenistic manner. The murals in the Dura synagogue were also strikingly similar to those decorating the temple of Zeus
Theos in Greece. . .
From the above facts, one can deduce that, in the first centuries of the common era, and probably even earlier, there must have flourished in the Greco-Roman milieu a professional and artistically sophisticated class of Jewish painters, architects, sculptural stone - cutters and skilled workers in mosaic. None of this could have been possible without the official sanction of the Rabbinic authorities.
The art of Hebrew book and scroll-illumination actively practised by lews during the Middle. Ages before the advent of printing, employed, without any hesitation, the human face and figure as well .as
Jewish Art Through the Ages (eontd.)
animals and birds, in illustrations of the Bible, the Psalter, the Passover Haggadah, and the Book of Esther (the Megillah) - proving that religious sanction was available for them also. It is interesting to note that in an early fourteenth century Haggadah from Germany, the representation of humans. with bird faces, was deliberately made by fundamentalists, in order to comply with the prohibition of the Second Commandment. Several centuries later, there were Jews in Italy who even had their portraits painted or sketched, or worked in bas-relief on metal medallions.
Whatever religious laws and regulations there were to inhibit the practice of the graphic and plastic arts among Jews, a great deterrent during the art-worshipping Middle Ages and the Renaissance was the exclusion of jews from the strictly Christian artist-guilds. Christian students, in those days, customarily received their art education as apprentices to master-painters, sculptors and goldsmiths, and developed their talents in the course of the years while working in the "boteqas" (work- . shops) of the individual master-artists. However, young Jewish artist-craftsmen had to acquire their knowledge and skills by themselves, the younger from the older, and although there was some opportunity for apprenticeship to Jewish "masters", the professional calling customarily was kept "in the family", a proud heritage of talent handed down from father to son. In this connection, it is interesting to note that the artist, Marc Chagall, is directly descended from Isaac Segal, an eighteenth-century synagogue decorator and painter of Mohilev, Russia.
Curiously enough, because the recognised artistguilds did not include illuminators, seal-engravers, bookbinders, minters and embroiderers, the frustrated Jewish artist-craftsmen, in search of new outlets, took advantage of this neglect and became excellent workers in those fields. Since the instinct for beauty in the graphic and plastic arts could not be suppressed in the Jewish people, despite the absolute prohibition contained in the Second Commandment, it expressed itself in tangential fashion and in a number of ways. In particular, it was turned into intellectual and religious channels. It found one outlet in exalted religious poetry, a form of art in which the Hebrew liturgists excelled. The Jewish concept of beauty, sprung from the puritan soil of its religion, did not have as its main emphasis, the'
aesthetic or the sensual, as did the Egyptian, the Greek and Roman, but rather the spiritual and the moral. " ... Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness", exhorted the ancient Singer of Zion (Psalm 29).
Yet artistic expression did enter into Jewish life, but in a rather roundabout way. It was the Jews' love for the Torah (The Five Books of Moses) which gave this expression religious sanction by, so to speak, "an escape clause" of exceptional ism which is impllott in the Rabbinical precept called in Hebrew "chiddur mitzvah". This "extra precept" imposed upon the pious the duty of exceeding in performance the written demands of each of the 613 commandments found in the Torah: they were to add something to them - just a little more than what could be considered just sufficient. This minute excess was meant to serve as a symbolic love-offering - a testament of boundless devotion from the individual lew to his faith. The ancient Rabbis had constructed this unique precept upon the Scriptural affirmation: "This is my God and f will glorify Him". (Exodus 15:2). But the word "glorify" they interpreted to mean "beautify". 'One of the ways in which this could be accomplished was by adorning all objects used in the performance of the rites and ceremonies of the Jewish religion. In this way, the tradition of religious art among the Jews grew - i.e, in the making of ritualistic and ceremonial vessels, ornaments and furnishings as "objets d'art".
Unfortunately, the troubled history of the Jewish people has been such that the art and artifacts of entire Jewish historical periods have vanished from the earth as if they had never existed. This holds true even of an epoch so rich in cultural development and creativity as that of HellenistiC Alexandria during the Talmudic age, where for more than five centuries, Jews were able to express themselves more freely than in most periods of their long history. Hardly any ceremonial art objects, made before the sixteenth century by the Jews of Europe, have survived. The earliest objects extant today are of late Renaissance and Baroque times. A unique development in connection with Jewish ceremonial art during the Baroque period was the emergence of a highly skilled class of artist-ernbrotderers and weavers who were women. They designed, wove and embroidered Ark curtains and Torah mantles with great skill and creative imagination. In more than one instance, pride of artistic creation was
Jewish Art Through the Ages (contd.)
registered by the Jewish artist-craftsman on his handiwork. On a red and green velvet Ark curtain, dated 1772, which is found now in the Jewish Museum in New York, the following Hebrew inscription is executed in applique: "The work of my hands in which I take pride, with the help of God. Jacob Koppel Gans, son of Judah Leb Goldsticker (i.e .... Judah Leb the Gold Embroiderer)".
The art objects produced for ceremonial use in both synagogue and home were surprisingly numerous. They included the interior furnishings of the synagogue itself, together with the Ark Curtain, the Torah Scrolls and their Silver ornaments, the laver, shofar, Channukah lamp and Perpetual Lamp. Thefr, for home use as well as for congregational use, there were Kiddush Goblets, Sabbath lamps and candlesticks, Channukah lamps, menorot, communal wedding rings and engraved Ketubot (Marriage contracts), sllver-appliqued prayer-shawl collars, silver spice-boxes, mortars and pestles, special platters for Sabbath and the Passover, fine bookbindings for sacred works, illuminated Pentateuchs, Megillot for Purim and Haggadot for Passover. Some of these art objects are described in the article on "Worship and Art" in this brochure.
The widespread use of these and other ceremonial art objects - made of the finest materials, from brass to gold, from linen to silk - and the religious eagerness to have them made as beautiful as possible, resulted in a lively activity in the art crafts among Jews. Seemingly denied fuller expression in the media of representational art, the Jews' preoccupation with ceremonial objects amounted to a compensatory creativity.
Nevertheless, it was inevitable that as new styles in art evolved, the Jewish artist, of necessity, began to feel that the boundaries to which he had hitherto most circumspectly subscribed were too. rigid and compelling. So, almost hesitantly at first, he began to break through his self-imposed frontiers of ideas,
media and imagination. In more modern painting, when art ls pursued for art's sake, the Jewish element is not so evident any longer in the works of Jewish painters. Thus Israels was a genre painter as were others of his time. liebermann's pictures are typical of German trnpresslonlsrn. His art is first of all German - just as that of the impressionist Pissaro is first of all French. The pictures of the Italian Modigliani, with their imitation of the Gothic style, are as little Jewish. They symbolise the loneliness of modern urban man, be he lewish or non-Jewish. Contrary to such Jewish painters, Marc Chagall is completely and visibly Jewish. His is a unique style. His deep love, for his "schtetl" (village) is revealed in many of his works. Chaim Soutine's work displays a similar theme. Rosa Bonheur achieved a charming romanticism and Utrillo's evocative pictures of Paris are still being copied on the Left Bank to this very day. Mane Katz, Joseph Pressman, G. Zender, Reuven Rubin are internationally recognised for establishing their own particular styles. If any Jew broke the shackles of centuries with a force bordering on the ferOCiOUS, it was Jacob Epstein, whose work, even to this day, is still the subject of controversy. Nearer home, in South Africa, Irma Stern, a world famous artist whose ideas transcended her origins; Wolf Kibei, whose genius has so tardily been recognised; and, (to revert to SCUlpture again), Moses Kottler and Lippy Lipschitz, both as essentially Jewish as "Tevye" (Fiddler on the Roof), all eagerly embraced the principal concept that to succeed, art must be universal.
"Looking on beautiful shapes and pleasing sculpture ... enlarges the soul, quickens the heart and increases the power of the mind".
Rabbinical Scholar and Philosopher. (Known as "Maestre Duran the Aristotelian").
With acknowledgements to "The Book of Jewish Kn0wledge" by Nathan Ausubel and "Jewish Art from the Bible to Chagall" by Ludwig Gutfeld.
The Union of Jewish Women of South Africa (Salisbury Branch)
• To serve as a central organisation for the coordination of all local Jewish women's societies or associations concerned with the spiri-
tual and educational needs in the Jewish
• To express the views of Jewish women on Jewish and general matters, particularly those of special concern to them.
• To initiate and participate in activities calculated to strengthen Jewish life in Rhodesia.
• To assist in the furtherance of Jewish and general education.
• To participate in and/or initiate activities which are calculated to promote goodwill and better understanding among all sections of the population of Hhodesla.
• To provide a platform for the discussion of subjects of Jewish and general interest.
• To work for the improvement of the status of women in Jewish law and for their equality of status with men in the Jewish community.
• To co-operate through the National Executive Council of the Union of Jewish Women of South Africa with national and international
organisations working to secure equality of status of women with men.
• To co-operate through the National Executive Council of the Union of Jewish Women of South Africa with Jewish organisations in other countries, having similar objects.
• To promote ties of friendship and to foster cultural relations with the people of Israel.
• To co-operate through the National Executive Council of the Union of Jewish Women of South Africa with national and international organisations for the maintenance of world peace.
• To serve as a central organisation for the coordination of all local Jewish women's societies or associations concerned with the welfare needs in the Jewish community.
• To initiate or participate in social welfare work for all sections of the community.
• To support, subscribe and contribute by way of work, monetary grants, loans, donations or otherwise, to any charitable, welfare, national or public organisation, object or fund in order to carry out the objects of the Branch.
artefacts; sculptures in wood, stone and ceramic; clay-m odelling; pottery-
palnting, drawings and
graphics; batiks and
beadwork; basketry, carpels and weaving; wire toys; handicrafts; mbira and marimba music, traditional singin~ and dancing, and witchdoctors.
This was the first time, it
Seen at the exhibition.
Standing, centre, left to righ t: Mrs Ca rmen
Salisbury Arae ), Mrs.
Dorene Z_ilberg (co-
Hanan (chairman, Toni Saphra branch) ami Mrs Lily Graham (c oconvener), together wit h some of.lhe exhibitors.
is believed, that an allAfrican Arts Festival of this scope had been held in Salisbury. Some of the exhibitors have work in galleries in Europe and America and in private collections in many countries.
The work was displayed in a setting of trees and shrubs, which together with the traditional African music and da ncing, and the witchdoctors and woman herbalist, helped create a truly African atmosphere.
All work on display was
for sale and part proceeds benefitted SASCAM (Salisbury Society for the Care of the African Mentally Handicapped) and Richwood Park Paraplegic Club (a non-racial club
which caters fOT a l l
The co-conveners of the exhibition were Mrs Dorene Zilberg and Mrs Lily Graham.
The Salisbury branch of the UJW was established in 1948 and 1978 marks its 30th year of service to all sections of the community.
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