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July 05, 2002 - Image 75

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-07-05

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I have been traveling to Israel since 1977. My first visit was an art tour with clients
to support the Israel Philharmonic and its conductor Zubin Mehta. I visited many
places north to south, from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, to Haifa and Ein Hod, and to
several kibbutz. I was taken with the vibrancy of the country and its people. Israel is
like no other place on earth. Since that time I have made close to 50 trips to Israel
and am proud to say Park West Gallery has supported artists and artist colonies in
Haifa, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Rishon Le Zion.
The idea for this exhibition began when I learned that a bomb had gone off in Rishon
Le Zion less than 200 yards from the serigraphic studio Romi/Shaked Lavan where
these artists work on a regular basis. A place my wife and I have walked by dozens
of times. I phoned and learned that the studio did not close for even one day, and
there was no thought whatsoever of any of the artists changing their daily routine or
moving their studios outside Israel.
"Mediterranean Light", Our last exhibition, featuring the work of Israeli artist Alex
Perez, opened on May 17th and will continue concurrently with "Freedom Faces
Terror". Many of you received the brochure for the Perez exhibition and saw the
photograph of Alex taken outside his studio, near Tel Aviv. His son took the



photograph only a few weeks before he left for Jenin to serve his country in the
Israeli army in its recent conflict there. Alex told me during that time that by day he
would put more and more of himself into his paintings, striving to create his finest
works and by night try to get through, by telephone, to his son in Jenin.

Each of the artists in this exhibition have similar stories. When asked why they
continued to work under such circumstances and why they don't just pull up stakes
and go someplace safer, the artist's answers were clear: "This is our country; we
are free; we work because we can; we work because we must; we love it here; the
terror is frightening but it makes us sharper, stronger, and more committed to our
freedom." Today, freedom faces terror not just with the Israeli blue and white, but with
all of God's colors wherever freedom is cherished.
These challenged artists bring us the best hope for the future in their decisions to
stay in Israel, amidst the beautiful Mediterranean light that so touches this magical,
powerful place, this tiny country with Jerusalem, the home of three of the world's
great faiths, only 35 miles from Tel Aviv and the sea. It is the place where beauty
exists like nowhere else on earth-- a beauty, which in the face of terror still inspires
the creation of art. - Albert Scaglione



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