And many rivers issue from it
On art and on life
In a space that is containing and respectful
But also challenging and enriching
Gradually an intimacy is created here that I did not know before
Between creative people
Some new whole
Whose point is its parts.
Dana Arieli, A River from Eden 2022
In February 2022, a group of eleven artists, ten women and one man, gathered at the Art Center in Givat Haviva for a joint journey of research, learning, and the creation of a personal and social portrait, as part of the program A River from Eden. Eleven artists 'jumped' into their personal "river", and for six months drew from it memories, stories, insights, thoughts, dilemmas and dreams, which were translated into line, color and shape.
The beginning of a journey is always accompanied by a feeling of curiosity, uncertainty, sometimes even fear.
Every journey always begins at a starting point - a present that has a past and probably a future as well.
The starting point that we chose for our journey originates from one river, a story shared by all of us, a story that provides us with context, meaning, identity and purpose.
And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became four heads. (Genesis 2:10)
Four rivers come out of Eden, and they flow around the globe for thousands of years, splitting into streams, brooks, lakes, swamps, canals and seas. Each such river is one story in a weave of countless stories, episodes, thoughts, memories, opinions, questions, people, events and places. Together they hold within them an entire culture.
However, in contemporary reality, as individuals and as a society, it seems that we have stopped looking at our common and rich cultural treasure and instead we focus on divisions, on fragmentation, on a discourse that is mostly based on the written and spoken word - an available, immediate and sometimes careless means of expression.
A River from Eden seeks, with the help of the language of art, to explore and reveal personal and social stories that live within communities and drive their culture. Acting in the present to tell those stories anew and differently, to bring together stories, to assemble them again, to make the joint product accessible and open for re-mix, to invite reaction and joint assembly, over and over again.
The artwork was created during the time between the meetings, drawing inspiration from textual and visual study around different themes: Place and locality, memory and forgetting, significant figures in our lives, walls and borders, wandering and more. We wanted to make use of the artists' ability to create - for themselves and for wider circles - new perspectives, mirrors that allow an open, more flexible observation than spoken words or written agendas. With the help of the artistic creation, we sought to bring the stories closer, to enable an encounter and a deeper acquaintance, to generate dialogue and response.
The exhibition And many rivers issue from it is a summary of the deep, interesting, challenging, creative and meaningful work process of eleven artists. This is an exhibition that allows a glimpse into personal stories that have come together into a whole new group story, whose point, as Dana Arieli writes, is its parts.
Adi Nachshon, Limor Shiponi