An exhibition of oil paintings by the Jewish Israeli artist, Zohar, has opened in the Eatery Café at An Grianán Theatre, and can be seen during the café’s opening hours 9.30am to 3.30pm, Monday to Friday, from now until the 27th June.
The Palestinian Paintings, a series of work started in 2017 tackle the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. Belonging to and growing up in Israel afforded Zohar an informed position to witness the 1967 Six Day War and subsequent occupation of territories and the ongoing and increasing displacement of Palestinian citizens. Witnessing the chaos of brutality inflicted on a civilian population by an ever more confident and belligerent military power caused him to engage with organisations and movements attempting to halt such as inhumanity and persecution.
Born in Kazakhstan in 1945, Zohar is a classically trained painter, and an alumnus of the Belzalel Academy in Jerusalem. In a formal and pictorial sense, his paintings reference, for example, 17th century Dutch painting yet gain contemporary currency through their being a vehicle to consider and examine 21st century cultural, societal, and political positions. He has lived and worked in London since 1987.
Zohar’s painting practice has been predominantly concerned with the human figure and has included a number of high-profile portrait commissions including Diana Spencer (1990), the group portrait The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, (2006) and Lord Browne of Belmont, (2007).
The Palestinian paintings are born of an anger and frustration to the continued and ongoing fear, humiliation, horror and brutalism experienced by ordinary Palestinians on a daily, regular, recurring and current basis.
Ultimately Zohar left Israel, dissociating himself with the actions and trajectory of that state.