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Ghiora Aharoni: Art as Physical and Ephemeral Sacred Space

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Nuggets From Ghiora Aharoni's Call

Last Saturday, we had the privilege of hosting Awakin Call with Ghiora Aharoni.

Ghiora Aharoni is an artist and designer whose work is centrally premised on humankind’s interconnected existence, as well as a nonlinear concept of time. His work is in the permanent collection of the Pompidou Center in Paris, The Vatican Library in Rome, The Beit Hatfutsot Museum in Tel Aviv, The Kiran Nadar Museum in New Delhi and the Morgan Library & Museum in New York—as well as numerous private collections around the world. Aharoni’s own faith is foundational to his creativity, but his explorations are not limited to any one religious belief, culture or medium. His artwork frequently expresses an interest in exploring the intersection of religion and science, and the intertwined relationships of seemingly disparate cultures. Much of his work involves cultural artifacts or sacred texts that have been recontextualized, asking the viewer to question or reconsider their conventional social/cultural significance.

Below are some of the nuggets from the call that stood out for me ...

  • My Grandfather gave me my name Ghiora. My name is based on the phrase from the Bible: "You shall remember that you are a stranger in a strange land." I was teased in school, and I cam back home and my parents said, "Well, there is the person that named you. You need to go and talk to him." And I had the most magnificent session with my grandfather in his study about the origin of the name and the calling of the name, and the sensitivity that one needs to develop to the other. One of the things growing up Jewish, he said, "We are the ultimate other, and it is us that needs to treat the other the way we want to be treated."
  • I grew up to understand that our faith or any faith is a way of life. The moment that we attach the term sacred to it we are creating the divide of the other--it is sacred to us.
  • The Zohar for us that don't know is the book that is the foundation of Kabbalah. It is the foundation of Jewish mysticism. I will always be a student of the Zohar and will always be a student of Kabbalah...When you pick up any book the purpose is gaining knowledge: when you pick up the Zohar it is the practice of shedding knowledge.
  • In order to define spirituality vs. religion, is to think about it as a fruit, spirituality is the sweet core of the fruit, while religion is the peel. The core has no structure. Spiritualism for me is a structureless practice of a state.
  • Creativity comes from the darkness, but it is light. Chaos and darkness is the catalyst for creation. Without chaos and darkness there is no world.
  • If both Palestinians and Israelis would learn each others language the conflict would end.
  • I feel like the work [art] comes from a place that is asking for change. It is a place that [asks] what is the impact that we can make in our life? What is our role here? What are we doing here? And that is what the work speaks for.
  • In my new body of work, I'm actually exploring the sacred space between two letters. What did that space mean? I'm actually going deeper into...I'm not exploring the black on the white; I'm exploring the white on the black.

Lots of gratitude to all the behind-the-scenes volunteers that made this call happen!

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