THE MAYANOT GALLERY IN JERUSALEM
by Pascale Zonszain
The luminosity of the Jerusalem stone reflected in the window, passers-by who come to a standstill, drawn by the faces and landscapes of Israel, a world in itself that resembles them. And barely a few meters away, the Bezalel Arts Academy where the art of Eretz Israel was reborn a little over a century ago and to where 21st century students continue to flock.
This is the Mayanot Gallery, and all the works that it displays including Abel Pann pastels, powerful portraits by Zvi Malnovitzer or photographs of contemporary Israel, a collection lovingly compiled by Yael Gahnassia over more than 25 years, seem to be a given, appearing in their natural setting.
The Hebrew word Mayanot means wellsprings or sources in English. Yael Gahnassia chose this name with care. It is the thread that connects between all the works, ancient or contemporary, displayed in her gallery; all follow this path, which leads her artists to draw from their own authenticity, from their Hebraic and Jewish sources, to participate in what makes today a recognized art, Israeli art. Light, matter, the humanity of the living, dynamic world, seen in the snatches of life captured by photographer Didier Benloulou, but also of a world out of the time, for instance that of the Gur Hassidim, or the old men of the Mahane Yehudah market, caught on canvas by Zvi Malnovitzer. All these creations are complementary, responding to each other; the biblical illustrations of Zeev Raban, for instance, interact with Pinchas Litvinovsky's explosions of colors.
Such different artists and styles, and yet there is a consistency that unites them: that of truth, of authenticity. This is what guides Yael Gahnassia's choice first and foremost. With her there are no concessions to fashion or ease. How could this be otherwise for the woman who produced an edition of the Five Books of Moses with Abel Pann's illustrations, a challenge that nobody had dared to take up and which brought her international recognition? "I accomplished the dream that he did not have time to achieve himself" says Yael. Today, Mayanot's new challenges are the artists who have chosen the photographic media to express memory, light, humanity.
The Mayanot Gallery is a window opening onto Jerusalem, onto the art and the people of Israel. This window is now offered to art collectors and connoisseurs from around the world through the Internet. Open the door and enter the Mayanot Gallery. Take time to study the paintings, discover the contemporary works of the rebirth of a nation. Yield to temptation. You are welcome.