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January 22, 2017 / 24 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘artists’

An Artist’s Life

Monday, June 20th, 2016

The glass sculptures and artwork of acclaimed international-artist Jeremy Langford grace hotel lobbies, synagogues, office buildings and religious sites. But it would seem that his greatest creation is a work in progress – himself. Langford has reinvented himself so many times and in so many ways one would be hard pressed to fit him into any mold.

Saltsman-061716-Jeremy-LangfordLangford’s most well-known work is the glass sculptures in the Kotel tunnels, but his creations grace Kever Rachel and the ohalim of the Rambam, Shmuel HaNavi and David HaMelech as well as secular locations like Trump Towers in Miami and various buildings in New York. His current project is a donor wall of stone in the City of David, depicting Jewish history from the time of David HaMelech to the Second Temple period.

Chain of Generations, depicting Jewish history from the Matriarchs and Patriarchs to the present day, and situated in the Kotel Tunnels, is his greatest work both in size (40 feet high and weighing 15 metric tons), depth, and in ambition. It’s also his favorite work and garnered the 2008 Thea award, bestowed by the Disney Corporation on projects whose achievement has been determined to be of “outstanding” quality.

Very holy work for a man who grew up in a Dutch-English family that was “Secular LeMehadrin.” Langford says he always felt there was something more, something beyond physicality, and he went looking for it. He found it as a student of Kaballah under the guidance of Rav Baruch Ashlag zt”l. After Rav Ashlag’s death, he founded the Ashlag Heritage Foundation.

Destruction Ph. Ilya Malnikov

Destruction Ph. Ilya Malnikov

Though the native of Brighton is a serious artist and deep Kabbalist, Langford has an easy air about him and a sense of humor that sets his blue eyes twinkling. He is a believer in natural medicine and founded a floatation center, Galim, with his late wife, Yael, who had been a neuroscientist. His daughter Naomi, a naturopath who also coaches underprivileged youth in Rehovot, currently runs it.

“Neurofeedback and floatation [in an isolation tank] helps people relax,” he says. “Artists better access their creativity and children with ADD and ADHD reach calmer states without drugs.”

Besides Naomi, Langford’s other four children are also very accomplished in their fields. His son, Boaz is a cave researcher who recently unearthed coins from the Bar Kochva revolt. Racheli is a neuroscientist specializing in resuscitation and clinical death. She also founded JFriends, a non-profit in the UK to bring Jewish singles together for Shabbat meals and other social events. David runs a high-end glazing company and set up an organization for humanitarian aid based on similar work he did during his army service, and Ruta, an artist and architect, works in his studio in Ramat Gan. Langford himself has just turned sixty and married his second wife, Tamara, six months ago.

Saltsman-061716-Young-Israel-of-Cedarhurst

Young Israel of Cedarhurst

When still a child, Langford was curious to see what would happen if he dropped some glass in a kiln. Someone saw his early experiments with glass and suggested he apprentice. He did, but after a while, frustrated with limitations, he developed his own techniques and has been creating unique and beautiful designs ever since.

Interestingly, his family history reads like a who’s who in entertainment. His grandfather was a royal entertainer at the court of Edward VII. His father, Barry Langford, worked with Tom Jones and the Beatles and developed Israeli television as an advisor from the BBC when he made aliyah in the 1970s. When Langford walked into his father’s home for the first time sporting a kippah perched precariously on his Afro (this was the ‘70s), his father was in rehearsal with a rock band. The music stopped, literally, the drummer dropped his drumsticks and his sister wouldn’t talk to him for a week.

Rosally Saltsman

Roger Waters Open Letter Calls on Musicians to Boycott Israel

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

British rocker Roger Waters published an open letter calling on fellow musicians to join a boycott of Israel.

“I write to you now, my brothers and sisters in the family of Rock and Roll, to ask you to join with me, and thousands of other artists around the world, to declare a cultural boycott on Israel,” Waters wrote in the letter dated Aug. 18. The letter was previously drafted in July.

The former Pink Floyd front man said he was inspired to release the letter after British violinist Nigel Kennedy at a recent promenade concert at the Albert Hall in London called Israel an apartheid state. The BBC said it would remove his remarks in rebroadcasts of the concert.

Waters, who has been active in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement for at least seven years, referred to the boycott of apartheid South Africa, saying that first a trickle of artists refused to play there, leading to a “flood.”

He singled out Stevie Wonder’s canceling of a performance for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces as a recent success story. Wonder quit his participation in the December fundraiser at the last minute under pressure from many corners.

“Please join me and all our brothers and sisters in global civil society in proclaiming our rejection of Apartheid in Israel and occupied Palestine, by pledging not to perform or exhibit in Israel or accept any award or funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights,” Waters wrote.

Waters recently came under fire for using at in his concerts a huge inflated balloon in the shape of a wild boar with a prominently visible Star of David, as well as a hammer and sickle, crosses and a dollar sign, among other symbols. It is a gimmick he has used for several years.

JTA

Chinese-Israeli Cultural Relations Blossoming

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

According to China’s Ambassador to Israel, Gao Yanping, “Culture goes beyond borders. Cultural exchanges constitute an important and dynamic part of China-Israel relations. Now the momentum is set. I am convinced that with our joint efforts the China-Israel cultural cooperation is bound to blossom.” To this end, the efforts of Israeli Barry Swersky are helping Chinese-Israeli cultural ties bud into fruition. In partnership with the Chinese Embassy and the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in China, Swersky is arranging an exhibition in Israel exploring the future of Chinese art through the eyes of young artists. Swersky is also fostering a collaborative relationship between CAFA and Israel’s Bezalel Academy of Art and Design.

Swersky explains, “I have felt that Israeli cultural organizations, whether artists or orchestras, are seeking more ways to go to China. They went to China and started to look for contacts. They have been successful.” He added, “As the cultural organizations become more interested in China, they have found their way into China. People are discovering each other, so there is a greater flow. There are museums in China presenting Israeli artists.”

Since 2008 Swersky has been promoting Chinese-Israeli cultural exchange. Among Swersky’s many projects is a TAO Beijing Dance Company performance with noted Israeli oud player Yair Dalal, joint master classes for gifted young Chinese and Israeli pianists, and construction of sculptures in Haifa and Haifa’s twin city, Shanghai, in a project proposed by Israeli artist Peter Jacob Maltz.

Swersky is not the only Israeli to be active in Israeli-Chinese cultural relations, as Israeli singer David D’Or has developed a solid audience in China and Israel Sinfonietta Be’ersheva has performed there twice. According to Swersky, “Already in May 1993, Israel and China signed a cultural agreement. In 2011, the governments agreed on a program for the years 2011 to 2015, a program which in general terms covers subjects such as culture and art, cultural events, museums and exhibitions, cinema and television, publication and literature.”

“Governments place great emphasis on ‘soft power,’” Swersky explained. “The identification with some elements of culture always helps Israel have a strong image in dance and music. It’s part of a country’s image.”

Eitan Press contributed to this report.

Visit United with Israel.

Rachel Avraham

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/united-with-israel/chinese-israeli-cultural-relations-blossoming/2013/08/15/

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