Paint Night: Menashe Kadishman-Style



September 17, 2019

More than 15 students gathered at the Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh last week for a paint night inspired by the late Israeli artist Menashe Kadishman.

Eli Sigman, a member of the student board at Hillel JUC, led the step-by-step painting tutorial. Students learned about how Kadishman’s artwork drew upon nature, biblical stories and struggle. Kadishman’s experiences as a shepherd on a kibbutz and a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces inspired his most iconic sheep portraits, depicted by drooping ears and doleful eyes.

Sigman gave precise instructions to the amateur art students about how to recreate one of Kadishman’s sheep paintings, renowned for their stark and distinct imagery of a forlorn, white sheep set against a wildly vibrant background. He also encouraged participants to be abstract with their creations and supply a backstory for them.

The event was co-sponsored by Hillel JUC’s Panthers 4 Israel and 70 Faces Literary Magazine, providing students with a creative outlet to express their thoughts and connect with Israeli arts and culture.

This event was a way for students to get to know two of Hillel JUC’s umbrella groups: 70 Faces Literary Magazine and Panthers 4 Israel. The student organizers hoped to foster a sense of community for those who have specialized interests in Jewish culture. (Photo by Dionna Dash)

An important role of umbrella groups at Pitt Hillel is to secure a place for Jewish students who prefer not to attend traditional Hillel programming. “70 Faces is my biggest involvement within Hillel, and it has been great,” said Avocet Greenwell, the editor-in-chief of 70 Faces Literary Magazine. “It gives me a more tight-knit community here since Shabbat can be kind of overwhelming. I hope others can also find that through 70 Faces and Panthers 4 Israel.”  (Photo by Dionna Dash)

Sigman gave precise instructions to the amateur art students about how to recreate one of Kadishman’s renowned sheep portraits, stark and distinct because of its imagery of a forlorn, white sheep face set against a colorful background.

70 Faces members Rachel Barcelona and Avocet Greenwell paint the outlines for their sheep. After creating a gray gradient for the sheep faces, students were encouraged to explore deeper themes by adding color in the abstract background. (Photo by Dionna Dash)

Eli Sigman ’21 led the participants in a painting tutorial. “I think we did a good job tonight of exposing these students to Israeli art, which is something they may not have had previous exposure to,” Sigman said. “I actually didn’t know who Menashe Kadishman was before tonight, but I’m glad I had the chance to learn about him.” (Photo by Dionna Dash)

At the end of the night, each student went home with their own personalized sheep painting, reminding them of their unique interests, viewpoints and talents. (Photo by Risa Fruchter)

— By Dionna Dash