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Diplomacy on canvas

Artist offers small glimpses of Israeli life in dreamy oil paintings

Zavi Apfelbaum’s impressionistic works capture places and people in Israel, now exhibited in Turin, Italy

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

'Jerusalem Cafe,' oil on canvas by Zavi Apfelbaum, part of her exhibit 'Light, Life and the Land - Scenes from Israel that opens May 3, 2022 at Teatro Paesana in Turin, Italy (Courtesy Zavi Apfelbaum)
'Jerusalem Cafe,' oil on canvas by Zavi Apfelbaum, part of her exhibit 'Light, Life and the Land - Scenes from Israel that opens May 3, 2022 at Teatro Paesana in Turin, Italy (Courtesy Zavi Apfelbaum)

Artist Zavi Apfelbaum’s dreamy oil paintings of Israel’s rolling hills and kibbutz fields, urban markets and local architecture are on exhibit in Turin as the Italian city hosts the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest that begins in two weeks.

“Light, Life and the Land” – Scenes from Israel opens May 3 at Teatro Paesana, the city’s historical center, in time for Israel’s Independence Day.

Apfelbaum’s impressionistic paintings offer small glimpses of Israeli life as she captures moments in time.

“The light of the region affects the landscape and atmosphere as does as the spirit of the people and the way that they interact with the land and one another,” said Apfelbaum, who heads global partnership development at MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as her day job.

“I stay attentive to moments that call out to me — whether it is a fleeting gesture, a fall of light, a color or contrast that creates a mood or atmosphere – and try to stay loyal to that moment. In doing so I hope that others will be able to find the same connection and share in the feeling or energy,” Apfelbaum added.

The American-born Apfelbaum studied fine art at New York’s Barnard College before moving to Israel in 1990.

Israeli artist Zavi Apfelbaum’s exhibit ‘Light, Life and the Land – Scenes from Israel opens May 3, 2022, at Teatro Paesana in Turin, Italy (Courtesy Zavi Apfelbaum)

The Turin exhibit is curated by gallerist Ermanno Tedeschi, who said he was fascinated by the poetry of Apfelbaum’s images and the “ancient flavor” of her work that is reminiscent of some of the great painters of the 19th century, as well as her ability to describe the land with elegance, an abundance of color and vitality.

Apfelbaum’s work will be exhibited in Turin until May 31 and will later be featured in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Genoa in a group exhibit titled “Israeli Landscapes.”

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