Interview: Vision of a Jewish immigrant

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Israeli Artist Lilach Cohen. Image / Lilach Cohen
Israeli Artist Lilach Cohen. Image / Lilach Cohen

Journalist Keren Cook talks to Israeli artist Lilach Cohen on Radio Shalom about her current exhibition Vision of a Jewish Immigrant, held at the Helensville Art Centre.

This is Cohen’s first exhibition since her college days. There are a variety of relief works on show and Cohen uses natural materials with strong references to the earth, sea and sky.

Her exhibition opened on November 1 and can be viewed over the next week.

Cohen has been a graphic designer and artist for many years and moved to New Zealand in 2003. It was a decision that she made for her family after deciding that Israel wasn’t a safe place to raise a young family.

Cohen says: “I’ve learnt to love another place. I use mix-media and live objects such as sand, driftwood and shells to portray God’s amazing creation.”

She shares that her family background and her artistic and spiritual journey since arriving in New Zealand. Her work is shaped by her family background, female identity and Jewish artist voice.

Asking questions and challenging the conventions around Jewish traditions and rituals are all part of Cohen’s framework.

In particular, Cohen explores gender politics – the spiritual hierarchies between men and women within orthodox and more liberal forms of Judaism.

She says her life in diaspora has fuelled her “experience as an immigrant in New Zealand and as a Jewish woman”.

Listen to the full interview below: