Artist Marc Provisor says that during his first two decades in Israel – after making aliyah in 1978 from Philadelphia – he spent more time in his security jeep than he did at home with his wife and four children.
Director of security for Shilo, Provisor divided his time between foiling terror attacks and setting up the painter’s easel he carried in the back of his jeep to paint landscapes of his great love in life: Eretz Yisrael.
“When Rav Kook became the chief rabbi of Jerusalem, he visited the Bezalel Academy of Art, and encouraged the students to use their talents to paint landscapes of Eretz Yisrael to arouse a yearning for the Land in the hearts of everyone who viewed the paintings,” said Provisor. “He said that such a holy endeavor would be a tikun for the sin of the spies who brought back a negative report of the cherished land.”
Today, Provisor is director of Security Projects for the One Israel Fund, which supplies Yesha communities with ambulances, medical equipment, security lighting and cameras, bullet-proof vests, and more. The Jewish Press recently spoke with him in his gallery.
The Jewish Press: What do you feel when you paint a landscape of the biblical hillsides and valleys of the Holy Land?
Provisor: I feel the same excitement I felt when I met my wife, as if I had been in love with her all of my life, and even before I was born. I feel an intimate connection with the Land of Israel beyond words. I feel the land, I feel its splendor, I feel its strengths, I feel its joys, I feel its inspiration, I feel its pain.
The beauty and chaos I experience while involved in security work, guarding the land of our forefathers, finds its way into my canvas. The Land of Israel is an essential part of me, a part of who I am, bound up in an indivisible bond with my connection to Am Yisrael and Hashem.
How do you reconcile the often violent nature of security work with the lofty nobility and beauty of art?
Both art and security work seek to make harmony out of a multi-faceted and often confusing and threatening world. In both, you have to see creatively, out-of-the-box.
In order to implement security solutions, you need to see the entire picture – the shades, the angles, the shadows… – hidden perils that encroach upon the canvas and which have to be stopped from disturbing the peace and harmony of the whole.
To me, art and security are not opposites, but essentially one, like creation itself.