Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lion of Jerusalem Project

The "Lion of Jerusalem" will be dedicated June 1 at Congregation Anshi Israel in Tucson, AZ. The life-size sculpture will welcome all who enter Congregation Anshei Israel.

This design is inspired by the tradition of Jewish Paper cut outs. These works often had a religious, ritual, or mystic purpose. This particular design has Sephardic and Northern African roots. If you look closely you will find similar patterns on buildings throughout the southwest. I selected two colors that flash or flicker like a candle, colors that speak to the Jewish American spiritual history and experience. You may notice slight color changes in various types of light. This vibrancy is achieved through the careful layering of paints. I knew that most people would be seeing the lion from a distance, so I enlarged the designs. The lion looks different from all angles, and the colors change throughout the day.

The earliest known reference to Jewish cut paper dates to 1345, when Rabbi Shem-Tov ben Yitzhak ben Ardutiel composed The War of the Pen Against the Scissors. He tells a story that when the his ink froze one winter night he started cutting the letters out of the paper.

This project was part of The Jewish Arts Alliance (JAA) , dedicated to supporting and inspiring Jewish artists and artistic Jews in Southern Arizona.


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