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Shimon Avni

September 12, 2010

Paris, France, 1932
“I chose to paint because of the Holocaust… the picture is like an extension of my hand, an extension of myself. I stretch out my hand and it is like I am stretching my existence. This is the proof that I am still alive. They wanted to kill me so I had to survive… it was something I had to do for mankind. It was something that was trapped in my soul.” – Shimon Avni

As a child in France during the Nazi occupation, Shimon Avni was saved by a Zionist organization called Chateaux Rose who hid him and other children in a small town called Andalis. Avni´s mother and brother were murdered in Auschwitz and after the war he was sent to a youth Kibbutz in Israel. This tumultuous childhood drove him to art as a means to express his search for an identity and to explore the constant tension between belonging and not belonging. Avni was a member of the “New Horizons” movement that worked to develop a style that was both modern and specifically Israeli. He studied art at the Avni Institute in Tel Aviv, the Grande Chaumiere Academy in Paris, the Beaux Arts in Paris and the Fine Arts Academy in Rome. Avni taught at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, the College of Visual Arts in Beersheba, the Art Institute in Rehovot, the Art Teachers College in Ramat Hasharon and at the Avni Institute in Tel Aviv as the Director and Coordinator of the Arts Department. Avni uses large canvases which he saturates with color and simple abstracted compositions in an attempt to relay the intensity of his experiences.

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