Orna Ben Ami: Entire Life In A Package


Aug 30 2019 - Nov 10 2019

Ben Ami’s shifted her focus to physical material when she started to learn gold and silversmith methods at the Jerusalem Technological Center. Between 1990 and 1992 she studied sculpture at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC, and her studies continued Tel Aviv University where she studied Art History. Entire Life in a Package is the story of millions of refugees with millions of packages, suitcases…sacks. “Life packages” that hold the desire to survive. In it, they pack both hopes and pains. Behind every package, there is someeone looking for a place. The objects that people take, in one package, represent their identity and sense of belonging, their memories and hopes for the future. Iron expresses the will to tightly hold on to the identity, which the objects symbolize. It renders them eternal and meaningful, like metal monuments. Iron brings out the physical and emotional weight of the journey. Orna Ben Ami softens the iron by cutting and welding it in her own hands like we attempt to soften life, but the message remains charged both on the personal level and the collective.

The combinations that Ben-Ami creates between the images taken by Reuters’ photographers and her iron sculptures are the heart of this exhibition. “Artists”, she says, “have to donate their part, through their artistic skills, for designing a better future.”

Thank you to the Michigan Council for the Arts for generous programming support.

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Exhibition Images

Ben Ami

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Orna Ben-Ami was born in Israel in 1953. When she joined the service at Israel Defense Force in 1971, she became the first female military correspondent for the Army Radio station. After her military service, Ben Ami became a reporter and news editor for the Israeli Broadcasting Authority radio station, and she studies International Relations and History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.