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Red Alert

Special display

  • Date iconNovember 12 2023 - March 2 2024
  • Curator: Amitai Mendelsohn
  • Israeli Art Permanent Gallery

For over a decade Ziva Jelin of Kibbutz Be’eri has been painting the landscapes of her kibbutz and its surroundings in red. ”Red is pure feeling. A hypnotic emotional power, passion and love. Combined with my childhood landscapes and the figures I paint, it takes on deep meaning, signifying belonging and connection to the place where I live. It speaks to the roads, the trees, the girl I used to be and is still living inside me, refusing to leave.” In a text she wrote about these paintings she added, ”Some see red as a sign of danger, a threat, war and blood; today it is also associated with the alarm signaling incoming missiles, ’Red Alert.’” Yet she never imagined an attack like the one mounted by Hamas against the kibbutz on October 7th, with the brutal murder of eighty-five of its members and the abduction to Gaza of twenty-five others.

Unlike the works by Ori Reisman and Yohanan Simon displayed nearby, which depict kibbutz landscapes in bright colors as an idyllic expanse of communal harmony, Jelin’s paintings convey a sense of danger and imminent catastrophe. On October 7th these works were pierced by the bullets of terrorists who entered the artist’s empty studio, where they even blew up a hand grenade. The shrapnel that stuck to the canvases attests to the horror that overtook the kibbutz, the murderous wish to destroy and kill. Yet the damaged painting, and its exhibition here, are an expression of the human spirit in its struggle against evil, and of the power of art to inspire hope even in these dark times.


Ziva Jelin, Israeli, born 1962
Curving Road, 2010
Acrylic and wall paint on canvas
Collection of the artist
Installation photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem by Elie Posner