Sale: Contemporary Art Auction Date of sale: 07.07.2024 Item: 37

Moshe Tarka

Pray and Let God Worry,
Acrylic on linen, 50X70 cm.

Moshe Tarka, born in Ethiopia in 1981, immigrated to Israel at the age of 3 during Operation Moses. His works stem from a study of his personal identity as a Black Jewish Israeli artist. From his personal stance arises a broader socio-political position that is sometimes expressed in his works. Part of his research is the definition of "Israeli art."

Tarka is a graduate of Tiroche Unfold in 2022, where his creation was sold for over $7,000. Since then, Tarka has entered the mainstream of the contemporary art world. In many of his works, Tarka explores the encounter between African and Western art, both in terms of style and technique. However, this encounter is represented ironically, combining symbols of Western and African culture.

As an artist who immigrated from Ethiopia at the age of 3, his African identity is a distant past, expressed in memories of his parents and Ethiopian heritage, but also in contemporary global culture. He consciously takes the endless flow of images and deals with questions like what it means to be African, Western, and what kind of artist he himself seeks to be. In doing so, he creates a "serious" parody that disrupts the aesthetic norms he erases, creating a new and unique artistic language that appeals to the imagined past and stereotypical present to create a new and unique present.

This artistic practice deals with questions of what black, Ethiopian, Israeli art is, and the self-definition regarding the sources of imagery, technique, and themes with which Tarka, as an artist, engages. Identified with a pictorial language that combines influences of traditional tribal art with street art, Tarka creates works full of color and detail. Tarka creates narrative-symbolic paintings that deal with class disparities, relationships between blacks and whites, and the gap between the inner and outer world. He places his characters in a rich, nihilistic environment – the walls are adorned with European-style tapestries, colorful carpets cover the floor, and above them shimmering chandeliers hang from the ceiling. The piano accompanies them as a silent soundtrack, another symbol of bourgeois life.

Tarka adds status and money to the tension between blacks and whites and reflects a complex situation in which dichotomy breaks down, and stereotypes do not necessarily hold true.

Estimated price: $3,000 - $4,000

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