Artist Raphael Abecassis tells stories from the Psalms of David through verses and scenes in bright and bold colours. The Sephardi-Israeli artist stays true to his name, which translates as a “storyteller” in Arabic. In his process of decoding a Psalm through art, the 61-year-old’s choice of language in his paintings is a combination of Jewish and Biblical symbols and Sephardic motifs, where he brings together the visual and spiritual world with vibrant, colourful imagery, that seemingly appear dancing on canvas.
The Marrakesh-born artist entered the art world when he presented his future wife with a ketubah — a traditional marriage document — after which it was shown to the audience, winning him three orders on the same day.
Abecassis’s works are on display at Visual Arts Gallery in India Habitat Centre, and are a part of “Israeli Pop Art” exhibition featuring six leading modern pop artists from Israel — Yaacov Agam,who is known as the father of kinetic art; David Gerstein, popular for his vibrant 3D metal art; Calman Shemi alongside Dganit Blechner; Yuval Mahler and Abecassis.
Curator Motti Abramovitz, also the Director of Israel-based Bruno Art Group, says, “Today, architecture in the western world and in Israel is cold, classic and faded, mostly comprising white walls and grey floors, unlike India. So people decided to bring in colourful art in their homes and that is how artists started producing works using a lot
Blechner paints over images of popular icons from movies, singers and collages of cities around the world printed digitally. As the Tel Aviv-based artist talks about her inspiration for the bold and bright colours she uses, she says, “I think it has something to do with the blue skies in Israel. We have more bright days than rainy ones; lots of light. I believe it influences my colour palette.” Her works show Marilyn Monroe, surrounded by butterflies and landmarks of New York City, such as the Brooklyn Bridge.
Apart from using car paint for some of his paintings, Shemi lends some colour to the mundane black-and-white musical notes in his painting Jazz Notes, where strokes of rainbow colours appear dancing on a large sheet. The oldest participating artist and the highest-selling Israeli artist in the show, 86-year-old Agam, through his four-dimensional images creates designs of varying colours and forms, which change shapes as the onlooker moves across his pieces, and showcases the magic of optical and kinetic art.
The exhibition is on at Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre till November 23. Contact: 43662024