Forty-eight years after Dani Karavan inaugurated the iconic “Jerusalem, City of Peace” wall carving in the Knesset plenum, the 82-year-old artist chiseled his signature on his artwork Wednesday.
Karavan also oversaw the engraving of the artwork’s caption in Hebrew and Arabic.
The sculptor had been commissioned to create the carving in 1966 after winning a Knesset artist competition. However, once completed, then-Knesset Speaker Kadish Luz refused to let him sign it due to concerns that “everyone that did something in [the construction of] the building would want to engrave his name,” Karavan explained.
The wall depicts an abstract Jerusalem landscape, the surrounding hills, and the Judean desert. The magnitude of the project — which took eight months to complete — and its symbolic significance was nerve-wracking, the sculptor, who was 34 at the time, explained.
“I was gripped by excitement and I didn’t sleep at night from the apprehension that something would go wrong,” he said.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein approved the request to add Karavan’s signature, and said the ceremony on Wednesday brings it full circle.
“This is one of the most well-known works of art in Israel,” he said. “In every home [it is] a work of art that appears almost daily on TV screens. I am happy we can close the circle — even after 50 years — and allow the artist’s signature on his artwork.”
“Today we made a correction that will last for generations,” Knesset Director-General Ronen Plot added. “I am glad we could do it.”