Art meets animals

Art in a Living Environment is an art event that draws inspiration from the dynamics of Kibbutz Naan children's zoo.

zoo art (photo credit: Courtesy)
zoo art
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Since Pessah celebrates spring, freedom and the ability to transcend traditional boundaries, "Art in a Living Environment" (omanut b'sviva haya), opening today, is a fitting family outing for Hol Hamoed. Though the show incorporates works by 20 Israeli artists, including many who have exhibited their art in mainstream museums and galleries, the event is by no means a traditional exhibition. The project began when Amir Sharon, a resident of Kibbutz Naan (near Ramle) and the manager of its zoo, asked artist Hamutal Friedman to organize art workshops for children during Hol Hamoed. Friedman, who believes that children are naturally imaginative and often relate to art better than adults, instead simply asked artists to create works on site that draw inspiration from the materials and dynamics of the place. The result is a diverse mix of sculpture, installation, painting, video and performance art connected to life, particularly the Kibbutz Naan children's zoo. While the artists were not told to consider the themes of the holiday, Hol Hamoed Pessah presents an opportunity to create work in a richer sensory environment than the typical gallery space. The timing is perfect for an event like this because kids are free to go on art outings with their parents. The works will amuse children but deal with grown-up issues as well. For example, artist Rudi Frenkel's videos, which deal with distinguishing between the real and the artificial, will be on view from inside a goat cage. Yoav Miller and Uriel Meron have created a giant tower constructed out of objects they found strewn like garbage over the surrounding area. According to Friedman, curator of the event, the soaring sculpture suggests a desire to escape from the zoo. Other works will be installed inside the horse stables and around the grounds. All the zoo's regular residents will be on view for the event as well. Visitors will find three types of art: works completed on site the week before the event, art in progress and performance art. Kids and adults should enjoy the chance to observe artists at work - a real treat, since few professional artists have the courage to put their process on display. As an environment without sterile gallery walls, the art will be vulnerable yet far more accessible than at an average museum show. The event will be open April 14 - 18, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are NIS 30 for kids and NIS 10 for adults. For more information, call (08) 944-2201.