Friday, July 20, 2012

The Island of Lost Art

Shalom, chaverim! We are in the height of the Nahariya summer everyone warned us about, so I will leave it to you to fill in the blanks about what this is like. But just in case you really don't know, I'll give you a few Mad-Libs style sentences--so you literally can fill in the blanks. Shabbat fun!
  • It is so hot here that your                    (body part) sticks to your                   (kitchen appliance).
  • It is so humid here that a local __________ (clergy member) _________ (past tense verb) the _______ (noun) out of a/an ___________ (adjective) __________ (profession).
  • The sun beats down so _________ (adverb) on your _________ (body part) that you want to go sit under a __________ (type of plant) and cool your ________ (pair of body parts) with a nice mixture of _________ (vegetable juice) and _________ (industrial cleaning agent).
So weather like this drives us indoors for the heat of the day, which naturally leads to reveries about the finer things in life, such as art and music. And since I have yet to achieve my goal of getting my hands on an autoharp, I've had a chance to look at a series of photographs I took just before Ulpan finished. I call it "The Island of Lost Art."

Our Ulpan was held in a municipal building in Nahariya that held not only language classes, but also pottery, painting, music, dance, and martial arts classes. So many students over the years has led to many works of art being left behind, either as gifts to the school or just literally left behind.

These works are displayed in a haphazard way--some are so close to the ceiling that they are almost invisible. Some are hung in such dark corners behind doors that no one ever notices them. But I am a soft touch when it comes to strays, even stray works of art. Who made these pieces, and when? What was happening in their lives when they did this needlepoint, or this painting, or this ceramic work? They hang, gathering dust and grease and cobwebs, quietly radiating their energy into the space.

Sound the shofar and wave the lulav--and turn the light off while you're at it!

You might have to "crane" your neck to see this little piece...geddit? Collection of ceramic works on a stairwell wall.

Pictorial representation of Hebrew teacher doing her best to keep both successful and struggling students engaged in learning the passive tense. Painting on a stairwell wall.
This poor, beautiful piece of needlework! What good and patient person created this, just to have it so ignobly displayed, above the tops of two office doors and obscured by an electrical cord?
Some pieces show an impressive degree of artistry and technique. This work was hung very close to the ceiling in a hallway, for some unknown reason.

The Ulpan building itself is constantly teeming with activity, all generations gathered together in pursuit of one aspiration or another. The evidence of our equally committed predecessors--their works of art--hang in testament to this sacred quality of human creativity. As we remember the victims of the recent and horrific terrorist attack in Bulgaria, carried out against young Israelis celebrating the end of their high school days, may the spirit of joy, of accomplishment, and of the love of learning continue on within us all. Shabbat shalom.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for reading my blog. I am interested in your comments, but I will delete anything that is either spam or just plain nasty. Please do not use the comments forum as a political or religious soapbox--there are SO many other online forums for those kinds of tedious arguments!