About: Naftali Bezem
Naftali Bezem was born in Essen, Germany, in 1924. He immigrated to Israel in 1939 before World War II. From 1943 to 1946, he studied art at the "Bezalel Academy of Art and Design" in Jerusalem with the Israeli painter Mordechai Ardon and after a year became his teacher and the personal assistant. In 1947 he went with his wife to Cyprus to meet holocaust survivors and that had a big influence on him. In 1949 Bezem spent three years studying in Paris in the catholic School of modern religious art and in 1952 he returned to Israel and worked for the "Kibbutz Movement" as an artist and painter. In 1954 he participated in The Venice Biennale of art and had a solo exhibition in Tel- Aviv museum. A lot of Bezem's works are in the outdoors, outside the studio; in 1963 he created a mosaic wall for "El Al Airlines"; in 1970 he painted the ceiling of the reception hall in the President's house in Jerusalem and in 1971 he created the relief on the exit wall in the "Yad Vashem" museum. In 1995 he moved to Paris, established an art studio and after two years moved to Switzerland. Most of Bezem's works of art refer to subjects related to Zionism and to the idea of the revival of the Jewish people in their land. During the 50's Bezem worked side by side with the movement "Ofakim Hadashim" which believed in abstract and international art but uulike "Ofakim Hadashim", Bezem's art is figurative and has a narrative. The subject of his paintings is mainly about the holocaust, stories from the Bible and from Jewish history. He created a set of symbols which appear in his work including objects like candlesticks, symbolizing Shabbat and holiness, a cupboard that symbolizing home and a mother, a boat and ladder symbolizing the immigration to Israel, a sabra as the reborn and fish which relates to the Shabbat table. Bezem worked constantly to put himself in exhibitions, books and a lot of public works through his entire career. He developed an artistic language that was unique and different from all his contemporaries focusing on images he himself developed which constantly appear.