Einat and Avigdor Rothem, proprietors of the small and intimate Pausa Inn at Shaar Yeshuv in the Upper Galilee, wanted to promote the beauty of their surroundings and what better way than to invite a group of artists to record their impressions. They enlisted the assistance of Rafram Haddad, would-be artist, poet and writer, who divides his life between Djerba, Tunisia and Israel. Avigdor had encountered Haddad through his connections with Slow Food, a worldwide society for promoting and protecting the heritage of food, tradition and its culture. The movement was founded to encourage eco-gastronomy – the strong connection that should exist between plate and planet. Food should be good, clean and fair and should provide producers fair compensation for their work. But I digress, so back to art.
Rafram and Avigdor approached artists they knew and asked them to come to Pausa equipped to record the surroundings, each in their own medium and style and in return they were offered the hospitality of the inn. The four days passed quickly as canvases, watercolor and etching papers, and pieces of metal, were filled with each artist's impressions. Meal times were there to eat gourmet food to sip the best wines of the region, to listen to cool jazz and classics and exchange stories.
There was Edna Aptik of Magshimim who explained: "I turn to landscapes as I am forever in awe of the overwhelming beauty and power of nature, its healing quality calms, its wisdom soothes." Eli Petel, who graduated from the Bezalel Academy of Fine Arts, Jerusalem in 1999 recipient of the Rappaport Award and others and whose works have been exhibited in the major museums and galleries around Israel and who is presently showing in the "End of the Day" exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum, worked on his interpretations. He was accompanied by one of Israel's leading illustrators and cartoonists, Ruth Gwily, who concentrated on the more serious aspects of reproducing the beauty of her surroundings.
Shachar Sivan, now resident in Haifa where he teaches and paints at the Municipal Center of the Arts, painted on metal shelving. Shachar began painting in 1996 but only in his spare time, as he made his living from cooking in restaurants and pubs. However 1997 saw him begin his studies at Bezalel. After graduating he worked under a number of established artists and the summer of 2002 found him in London where he had the pleasure of connecting with Lucian Freud and painting his portrait.
Enjoying the food and imbibing the atmosphere was Leor Waterman, a multi-disciplinary artist, who uses video creation and production, paints and sculpts to express himself. He was awarded the National Lottery Prize for the promising young artist of 2004 together with Esther Shneider, graphic designer and painter, who graduated with honors from the College of Art at Beit Berl. Another member of the group was Amir Rubin of Jerusalem who has been a captive of painting since the age of 14 and who was a student of Israel Hershberg, founder of the Jerusalem Studio School.
He worked till the very last minute in his paint stained shorts and T-shirt on a series of small canvases not even managing to relax over his final breakfast with the others.
And grandfather of them all, Moshe Vazana, personal friend of Avigdor, is a painter of the past who exhibited in the early 60s at the Helena Rubinstein Museum with the then young Israeli artists many of whom found fame. Moshe worked with oil of the black kind from the late 60s, however, always kept painting as a love in his life and exhibited a number of times over the interim years.
Present throughout with his cameras was Dan Chaimowitz who will also present an exhibition of photographs showing the artists at work. His photos of the paintings will be used on a website of the works to be viewed as of July. After a relaxing get-together round the table the artists placed their works in the dining area for some mutual admiration and comment.
Each year Avigdor and Einat make a special occasion on the birthday of the opening of Pausa and this year there will be an exhibition of the works produced.