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The Way Home

After years of involvement in the hardcore consumerism and materialism of Tel-Aviv's advertising and IT scene, Moshe Kassirer decided to rebel. He moved to Yodfat, his wife's native village, a community that offers its residents the antithesis of city life and represents a unique way of life within the human landscape of the Galilee. Moshe had embarked on his journey: The Way Home.

Artists such as Reuven Rubin and Nachum Gutman have been a source of inspiration for Moshe's work. They were considered the "Rebellious Current" of their time; renouncing the Bezalel Academy of Arts in Jerusalem, they replaced Judaism with a new culture defined by Hebraic history and created the original "Land of Israel" style of painting, a style that reflected daily life in Israel, the landscape of the country and its pioneering values.

Paradoxically, the indigenous Arabs served as models for these artists, representing the primordial Israelite, a contra-type of the Diaspora urban Jew. Arabs appear in Moshe's work as well, providing models worthy of emulation, although often his Arab models undergo metamorphosis and are to be found wearing traditional Israeli caps, introducing the question of identity; "Who is the native here?" or perhaps, Moshe's yearning that Arabs and Jews might live together in simplicity.

The image of the olive tree is a dominant theme in Moshe's work, representing rootedness, longevity, survival, strength, awe; the very antithesis of transience. "I will always paint olive trees in my landscape art," Moshe says, "other trees might interfere with the monumental representation of the olive tree itself or diminish the significance of its thousand-year-old history".

Yigal Zalmona, curator of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, summarized the inclusive context of the olive tree, "The olive tree is belonging, connection to place, the Mediterranean Sea, local color, a symbol of peace, the bible, the history of our culture, politics, Israeli art, eternity…(Definition of the olive tree, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1982)".

Moshe believes that, above all, painting is about color; the harmony of colors. He uses paints straight from the tube to preserve the purity, strength and energy of the pigments. The layers of paint are scraped with a brush, as if he intends to etch these images of Nature on our minds.

This exhibit presents Moshe's landscape paintings, paintings that embody the scenery of our homeland. But there is also a longing for an ancient, perhaps even biblical way of life, the way of life sought by the pioneers who returned to the Land of Israel after an exile of two thousand years... Thus, from his point of view, The Way Home has just begun.

Shlomi Schwartzberg, Curator

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