100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

The University of Michigan Library provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes. These materials may be under copyright. If you decide to use any of these materials, you are responsible for making your own legal assessment and securing any necessary permission. If you have questions about the collection, please contact the Bentley Historical Library at bentley.ref@umich.edu

February 19, 1993 - Image 65

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-02-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

CD
I L

CD

CD

CO

O

4-•

0

0-

Far Left: Isak
Biniashvili creates art
from tree limbs and
roots.

Above: The family has
sold more than 500
walking staffs.

Left: Rosh mezuzot are
hand-carved and
painted.

Carving A Future

Freedom
enables a
family of three
to pursue
their dreams —
as Jews.

RUTH LITTM ANN

STAFF WRITER

our wooden eyes, ex-
-, pertly carved into an 8-
foot staff of cedar, stare
blindly into space.
One set peers blankly
from the face of a prim-
itive man. Near the top
of the staff, the other set
gazes upward. In con-
trast to the vacant orbs
below, these eyes look
contemplative, intelli-
gent.
They form a visage sym-
bolizing modern man, says
sculptor Isak Biniashvili.
To Mr. Biniashvili, this
towering staff conveys a
message of equally looming
importance:
"Civilization wins out over
primitive life," he says.
Mr. Biniashvili's children,

David and Tamara, con-
tribute to their father's cre-
ative pursuits. The family
came to America as Russian
refugees nearly two years
ago. When their search for
jobs proved fruitless, they
converted the kitchen of
their Oak Park home into a
workshop with drills, jig-
saws and sculpting tools.
Determined to carve a
family dream that was
squelched under Soviet rule,
they began creating: sculp-
ture, ceramic pins, clay fig-
ures, intricate mezuzot and
other pieces of Judaica.
"I wanted to create and
create," Mr. Biniashvili
says.
But in the Soviet Union,
he also wanted to remain an

Orthodox Jew. For this, he
suffered consequences.
Mr. Biniashvili attended
the Academy of Fine Arts as
a youth in the Republic of
Georgia. While studying ar-
chitecture, he designed a fu-
turistic airport. The
blueprints earned him rec-
ognition as the first-place
winner in a government-
sponsored competition. The
reward: a trip to three dif-
ferent European countries.
But two other contest win-
ners enjoyed the prize. Mr.
Biniashvili did not because
he was a Jew. He earned
recognition, but no freedom
to enjoy the reward.
Time and again, Mr. Bini-
ashvili was frustrated by the
anti-Semitic elements in the

Back to Top

© 2022 Regents of the University of Michigan