Lions and Rams’ Horns.
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“Other painters of the same age (47) are working among us, their works usually far from the figurative-descriptive mode, and certainly from Jewish subjects. Bonneh’s works are imbued with a Jewish spirit that wears dramatic garb, full of glory, in his paintings. They are loaded with symbols of prayer and festival. …At the age of 20, Shmuel worked as a surveyor in the Galilee. In one spot he came across a stone that was part of the lintel of an ancient synagogue in an unknown village. Carved on the stone were the words “May there be peace in this place, and in all the places of His people Israel”. Bonneh recalls “I felt as if something inside me was illuminated”. He felt as if he were treading on the earth of his ancestors. He sees traces of the past in every footprint, everywhere, and is moved by the Jewish symbols incised in stone – bunches of grapes, pomegranates, the Ark of the Covenant, the shofar (the ram’s horn), the palm branch. Some time later, he found himself full of wonder about the ancient mosaics of Capernaum and of Beth Alpha – and saw for himself that there really had been Jewish art, even in those days, and that he could even touch it. In many of Shmuel Bonneh’s paintings one finds recollections of these events. “To my mind, the Bible stories are not just stories” he says. “They radiate a spiritual power and the life force. The ceremonial ritual implements, each of them has a soul. They are an uniquely Judaic art form. … The Bible, that influenced me at the beginning of my artistic career, influences me to this day.”


Rachel Engel “Maariv” 12.9.1977


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