What a joy to begin the High Holy Day season exhibiting the bold and colorful, The Seven Festivals by David Sharir. The portfolio of seven original hand screened serigraphs depict the holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Succoth, Tu B'Shvat, Pessach, Hannukah, Purim, and Shavuoth.They were created between the years 1976 and 1980 and executed at Atelier Yedagraph in Tel Aviv. The edition in our collection is 20/225.
The artist, David Sharir was born in 1938 in Tel Aviv and began to study art in Florence and Rome where he focused on architecture and theater design. His set designs for the Habima, Israel's National Theater and the Opera Company of Boston in the 1970's featured intricatestage design and brightly colored sets. After moving to Jaffa in 1966 he continued to develop his distinct style that combines personal experience, Biblical symbolism and a sense of fantasy and imagination. His solo exhibits include the Pucker Gallery in Boston and the Safrai Gallery in Jerusalem as well as several solo museum exhibitions in the United States, Germany and Israel. Currently he and his family live in Tel Aviv where he continues to create art.
Rabbi Harvey J. Fields states in the Introduction to the Portfolio, "David Sharir, an Israeli born artist, grew up and achieved maturity together with the emergence and development of the State of Israel. His work is unique within Israel's contemporary art and it builds a worldwhich relates to elements of a specific physical reality and to its visions and dreams...With this portfolio on the holidays, David Sharir offers a rich cluster of new insights and some intriguing surprises as he examines and portrays Jewish tradition. His inspiration sprouts out of a fresh encounter with Jewish literary sources, and out of a secular Israeli background urgently inquisitive, and delightfully playful."
The portfolio The Seven Festivals by David Sharir was a recent generous gift to The Temple Museum of Jewish Art, Religion and Culture by Dr. Eugene and Janet Winkelman, of blessed memory.
“Then Mattathias cried out in the city with a loud voice, saying: “Let every one who is zealous for the Torah and supports the covenant come out with me!”1 Maccabbees 2 : 27-28 Hannukah is not a story of a miraculous jar of oil but the battle of Mattathias, his five sons, and their followers against the Greek-Syrians. It is a mother mourning her seven sons who chose martyrdom rather than worship idols, and the astonishing victory of the brave few over the powerful army of Antiochus. Hannukah is a Hag Ha-urim, “The Festival of Lights”, celebration of the lights of liberation against the darkness of oppression.– David Sharir
“You shall count off seven weeks… then you shall observe the Feast of Weeks…” Deuteronomy 16 : 9-10 Counting the Omer for seven weeks was the way an ancient journeyed through the precarious harvest period starting with the barley at Pessach and concluding with wheat at Shavouth. Here the seven weeks become seven hills and seven harvest seasons. Ruth, with Naomi at her side, reaches out with love to Boaz. And above the hills stands the city of David, the holy city of Jerusalem. – David Sharir
“in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to rule over them, it was turned around so that the Jews ruled over those who hated them… and the month was turned around for them from sorrow to gladness and from mourning into a festive day…”Esther 9 : 1, 22Everything about Purim is “turned around.” Purim transports Jews into a make-believe world where, for once, the lots come up lucky for them. Mordechai is victorious. Haman’s plot is foiled. He leads a triumphant Mordechai through the streets, and then is hung on the very gallows he has constructed for the Jew. For the duration of a day, Jewish realities–exile–suffering and persecution–are turned upside down. Purim is an escape into fantasy celebrated with carnival noise and joyous pandemonium.– David Sharir
“Now the Israelites went up…out of the land of Egypt. And Moses took with him the bones of Joseph… The Lord went before them in a pillar of cloud by day… and a pillar of fire by night…”Exodus 13 : 18-21Led by Moses and Aaron, the people of Israel form a joyful parade out of Egypt. Each carried precious possessions. Miriam gives music to the march and the flaming pillar forms the direction out of flesh pots to freedom and the Promised Land. Pessach celebrates the awesome Exodus from Egypt.– David Sharir
“Mark, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the yield of your land…You shall live in booths seven days.” Leviticus 23 : 39, 42 The sukkah forms the makeshift harvest dwelling. Plain on the outside and within bejeweled with decorations, fruits and the glow of sun during the day and the moon at night. The family celebrates with lulav, willow, myrtle and ethrog. A meal of fish is a foretaste of the Great Fish promised in Gan Eden to all the righteous of this word. Sharing the sukkah are the ancient guests (ushpizin). – David Sharir
“When you enter the land and plant…” Leviticus 19 : 23 In the land of Israel the New Year of Trees coincides with the end of winter rains and the beginning of the lush green growth of spring. Almond trees blossom, gardens are transformed into playful places, and a joyful procession of planters goes out to renew the Land, singing with enthusiasm, “Thus march the planters, with a song at heart and a shovel in hand, from the city and from the village on Tu B’shvat.” – David Sharir
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