The Illustrator’s Blessing - Edmond de Rothschild Center
  • Curator: Orna Granot
  • Dates:19.11-4.1.22
  • Assistant Curator: Reut Kremer-Segal

The Illustrator’s Blessing

Participants

Einav Vaisman Eli Babajanov Talia Drigues Valya Rozencvaig Eden Ofir

 The Illustrator’s Blessing

Laureates of the Israel Museum Illustration Prize, the founding generation of contemporary Israeli illustration, have chosen to present promising young illustrators in this exhibition:

Yossi Abolafia chose Eli Babajanov

Alona Frankel chose Talia Drigues 

Danny Kerman chose Eden Ofir 

Michel Kichka chose Valya Rozencvaig 

Ora Eitan chose Einav Vaisman 

Five pairs of illustrators — icons we have known since childhood alongside the future generation of Israeli illustrations — weave in a series of creative encounters a new, intergenerational link and present to the public a dialogue replete with mutual personal and professional admiration, shifting between hesitating first steps and a reflective examination of the past.

The exhibition stems from a collaboration between the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation in Tel Aviv and the Illustration Library at Youth Wing of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. The young illustrators were given a free reign in choosing their works for the exhibition: books, sketches, collages, drafts, etc. The body of work featured in the gallery is characterized by the wish to create and present a “visual visiting card” that defines the independent language here and now.

The artists are led by their own personal interpretation. A work that started off as a sketch for a client at times leads to a personal work; an archived remnant from an academic exercise or project suddenly leads to a breakthrough in working with a client. All feature attempts at simultaneously intensifying and revitalizing, a wish to find an old-new meaning, a narrative that becomes a research motif. Each illustrator’s board presents a process of personal-reflective examination of their own body of work in progress, each are different and unique, yet seem to be connected by the yearning for balancing working with clients and initiating personal projects.

The film that accompanies the exhibition documents the poignant encounter between the artists, and the honest, nurturing discourse that arises from it. The senior illustrators tell the future generation of artists why they chose them and offer advice and encouragement, each in his or her unique way. This intergenerational dialogue reflects a joint excitement for iconic and contemporary Israeli illustration, moments of laughter, authenticity and mostly a deep love of illustration, an art that is a unique mix of word-image-story. Together they share tips about illustration techniques, insights about good and not-so-good texts, forming a stylistic identity and tutoring, family and livelihood, commercial and artistic success, as well as painful moments of failure and dreams.

Yossi Abolafia emphasized Eli Babajanov’s talent for drawing, his deep understanding of humans through expression and body language in his works; Alona Frankel stressed the humor and intelligence in Talia Drigues’ illustrations, and the freedom and joy of the childish figures she creates with a combination of compassion and beauty rather than distortion and grotesqueness; Danny Kerman admired Eden Ofir’s high capabilities of writing and drawing and noted her talent in crystalizing an artistic-illustrative-playful style that pristinely and passionately combines collage, typography, and original, personal drawing; Michel Kichka praised Valya Rozencvaig’s critical, consolidated personal-feminine expression, simultaneously ironic and delicate; and Ora Eitan highlighted Einav Vaisman’s artistic flexibility, the cultural-artistic precision of her commercial works and personal projects.

The exhibition features a mix that is not usually exhibited together in Israeli artists’ daily, commercial and creative work. The initial blessing—the exhibition’s Hebrew title alludes to the blessings of Biblical fathers as well as to the traveler’s prayer—was that of the laureate illustrators who chose the younger ones, but at the end of the process it seems that the blessing was mutual. The film and the exhibition together document a human, artistic encounter between illustrators who are linked together into a sequence of contemporary Israeli illustration.

We offer our blessing to the ten illustrators and wish them continued success in their artistic path. Their success is a blessing for us, the readers, too.

 

Orna Granot

Exhibition curator

Head of Illustration Library, Youth Wing, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem