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Leora Wise

Leora Wise is an artist living and working in Jerusalem, engaged in painting, printmaking, and a unique approach to performance on the seamline between the visual and performing arts. She has appeared onstage at art events, museums, and festivals. Her artworks have been exhibited in galleries and public spaces in Israel and abroad, and are in many public (e.g., Israel Museum, Jerusalem) and private collections.

Her engagement in art that corresponds with literature and her bond with Jerusalem led to a natural connection with her former classmate, David Grossman.

Leora is known for her love of street cats so identified with Jerusalem. Cats are a frequent presence in most of the artwork for this project.

Leora’s process

I took on a mission which was at once challenging and seductive – to translate a novel into art in the public space. But it is not just any story, and no ordinary public space: it is David Grossman’s story, in the space of the walls of buildings in the Jerusalem city center. In his book, Grossman juggles with virtuosity between the familiar city and the invisible Jerusalem in which adolescent boys and girls live on the street in a reality of exploitation and drug addiction - but it was precisely among the street kids that there are genuine friendships and love.

The duality in Grossman’s Someone to Run With is reflected as well in Jerusalem’s character; the world looks to it and dreams about its holiness, but contemporary Jerusalem is a bustling city whose beauty has been neglected. Its stone walls were damaged and covered in various signs and graffiti. I set out on my mission with this loaded complexity: how would I create wall illustrations that would stand out from among the other stimuli screaming out for attention, would tempt the busy pedestrians, and yet would honor its beauty? How could I express both the Heavenly Jerusalem and the mundane Jerusalem reflected in Grossman’s book?  


What I did

I created movement between near and far, so that when people come closer to the sign they discover an additional layer: from a distance, the rich colorfulness beckons. When coming closer to the picture, people can identify the space in which they are standing. In Zion Square, the familiar buildings are revealed, while in Gan Hatut-Mulberry Park the sign features the mulberry trees and the characteristic benches. Coming even closer, a story is woven by means of the figures, their expressions, and their interactions. Standing right next to the sign, it is possible to read sentences taken from the text interwoven in the illustration. 

Visitors who have not read the book will find an intriguing story in the sign. Pedestrians who have read the book will discover reminders of the text, identify the characters, and wonder about their portrayal. There are also surprises hidden in the illustrations, for example, the Jerusalem cats who slid into all of the illustrations from Kikar Hahatulot- Cats’ Square.

As if this were not sufficient, a podcast is added to the visual interpretation of the book – David Grossman reads excerpts from his book, allowing the listener to search for the visual reflection of the reading. 



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