President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin, spoke this evening, Sunday 23 June / 19 Sivan, at the award ceremony for the Haim Schiff Prize for Figurative-Realistic Art, awarded for the tenth time this year. The event was attended by Tel Aviv Museum Director Tanya Cohen Uzieli and Dovi Schiff, son of the late Haim Schiff ז”ל.
The president opened his remarks emotionally, saying that although he was still in the 30 days of mourning for his wife Nechama ז”ל, it was obvious to him that he should attend the ceremony and support the the young artists, just as she did every year. He also credited her with his love and appreciation of art and culture thanked the organizers for the opportunity to take part in the event, both in personally and on behalf of her.
The president spoke to the winner of the 2019 prize, Tigist Yoseph Ron, saying “looking at your portraits, dear Tigist, creates the electrified sensation that sharpens the skin when we stand face-to-face with another person for a long time. Tigist Yoseph Ron’s brave and wonderful portraits bring us close not only to beautiful men and women who look straight at us, they also force us to face questions we often prefer not to ask, questions about acceptance and detachment, questions about racism, exclusion and inclusion. Questions about connection and dislocation, and curiously sometimes without words, looking at an expression in paint It is much harder to avoid these questions. It is a great gift and a great lesson that you, Tigist, teach us, as observers.”
The president added: “The small State of Israel produces talented young artists and artists, but does not always know how to raise them and reward them, and to provide them with space to live in. The Schiff Prize allows these artists to come into light, and to enlighten us. But even if there were many such prizes, they should be a supplement, not an alternative to the support that the state can and should provide to its artists. ”
Attached photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom (GPO)