What makes one art gallery stand out as special and different from all the others that, interesting as they may be, seem to be so run of the mill? Of course, the artists and their works, but every gallery worth that designation offers us a view of artistic talent that can make our jaws drop. So is it the location? The theme? The setting? All of the above?
Yes, yes and yes. And Chabba Gallery has it all. Nathalie Mamoun captured the essence at an art center (“gallery” is almost too mundane a word for the setting) at her delightful home in Herzlia Pituach.
An at-home art gallery? Don’t knock it till you see it and until you understand the whys and wherefores. Firstly, the large house is the perfect setting for an art gallery, with a spacious lower ground floor just begging to be utilized. And as Madame Mamoun explains in her delightful French accent: “How often hasn’t it happened that you see a work of art (painting, sculpture, a collage, a photograph or even a mobile) that you know you want, but when you get it home and see it on the dining room wall, or standing in the entrance hall, or hanging from the ceiling in the family room, or wherever, you know it just doesn’t fit your style, the surroundings, your home. It looked great in the gallery, but at home? Ugh!”The solution is to see art in real-life settings, just as you see it at Chabba Gallery: on the terrace, or next to the television, or above the lounge suite, or on the wall in the dining room. Will it match? Only you can tell, but at least you know how it might appear in your home (or office).
The gallery opened about one year ago and in general the works are available for viewing by appointment only (see details below). This past week was special, with a week-long exhibit (entitled “Four Corners”) of international artists in an exclusive exhibition. (Special exhibitions, when the gallery is open at set hours without appointments, take place from time to time. Check the website for updates). The current exhibition continues for another month. We were privileged to view the entire exhibition and to meet two of the artists.
Rasa Flay was born and raised in Lithuania and has lived in several countries (her husband is a diplomat), including Vietnam. She says that her inner self knew early on that art was her lifeblood, but at her parents’ insistence, she studied Business Administration. Later, when she lived in Moscow, she took art courses and began to express herself artistically. She trained further in Hanoi in the skills of lacquer painting. The details in her beautifully executed depictions set us on a trail of discovery as to the materials she uses, besides the lacquer; seeing her work on the walls of the Mamoun home is an exhilarating experience. She also has a feature of five photographs of – rocks! Says Rasa: “Art takes many forms, defined by the artist and left to the observer to contemplate, explore and discover the secrets”. The voyage of discovery was thrilling.
From Lithuania and Vietnam we ‘travelled’ to Nairobi, Kenya, seeing art through eyes of Fred Abuga, a young man with a brilliant art future ahead of him. He began his creative journey already as a child, building toys from scraps. His teachers discovered his unique sense of creativity and art and often asked him to portray their teaching aids on the blackboard. Later on he was roped in to paint the backdrops for the school’s drama productions. Educated in strict Catholic schools, he was eventually commissioned to paint a portrait of the Bishop of Kenya – an honor indeed for a budding young artist and a major stepping stone to a career that blossomed after his Fine Arts studies at college. The Kenyan French Cultural Center recognized his skills by their award: “Most promising Male Student”. Fred Abuga has lived up to that promise.
Other artists exhibiting in “Four Corners” this month include the self-taught Moroccan painter Liliane Danino, who has had solo and group exhibitions around the world, including in Morocco, Canada, France, Israel and the USA. Also Josiane Dias, an art photographer formerly of Brazil, currently based in Israel. She has lived in Geneva, Tokyo and New York City and these varying cultures have clearly influenced her photography on differing levels. Expect the unexpected in her splendid works. And last but certainly not least is Itzhaq Mevorah, Israeli-born and trained and with his own studio specializing in a combination of pop art, ready-made and expressionism with innovative technological tools, in Tel Aviv’s Florentine quarter. Revel in some of Mevorah’s video art at the Chabba exhibition.
“Art speaks when words are unable to explain” is Nathalie Mamoun’s guiding principle. We asked her to explain the choice of “Chabba” as the gallery’s name: “The word connotes harmony, happiness, repose, joy, serenity – and is also my grandmother’s name”.
Need we say more?
Chabba Art Gallery.
44 Keren Hayesod Street,
Tel: Maria +972 (0) 54 832-1915
Nathalie +972 (0) 54 468-4545
Viewing by appointment only
Photos Silvia G. Golan