By Aryeh Savir
Tazpit News Agency
The Arthur Szyk Prize for Disruptive Thought and Zionist Art announced it has named Jerusalem-born artist Tomer Peretz winner of the inaugural prize. The Arthur Szyk Prize, which recognizes an artist whose work has the power to ignite conversation on Zionism in 21st century, is co-sponsored by Artists 4 Israel, Jewish National Initiative and the Arthur Szyk Society. The prize purse is $1,000.
“The Szyk Prize is about showing the positivity, creativity, compassion and diversity that underlies Zionism,” says Szyk Prize Executive Director and JNI co-founder Daniel Fink. “It’s a view that’s too often obscured, in some cases by hatred, but we believe art has the power to tell a different story.”
“Tomer’s work challenges preconceptions of Israel’s role in the artistic dialog,” says Craig Dershowitz, Director of Artists 4 Israel. “His work is alternately ironic and visceral, offering a glimpse into the many realities of Israeli life with a fresh, free ranging style that explores the many facets of Zionism.”
Tomer Peretz is a Los Angeles-based artist and designer who uses a variety of media including oil and acrylic painting, photography and furniture design to express a unique and contemporary point of view. With an appreciation for both the realistic and the abstract, his breadth of work spans contemporary art, pop art, religious art, portraiture, and animation.
“I’m extremely proud to be honored with the Szyk Prize,” said Peretz. “My work goes against the grain of accepted narratives in the art world, especially when it comes to Israel, so the ability to use my art to offer a different perspective is very important.” Peretz’s artwork has been featured in dozens of exhibitions.
“We are so pleased to stand behind this award honoring the legacy of Arthur Szyk, his passion for Israel, and the belief that art can stimulate change and question prevailing wisdom,” said Allison Chang of the Arthur Szyk Society, which co-sponsored the prize.
The Arthur Szyk Prize was launched to honor artists who demonstrate “exemplary and innovative use of their medium to challenge prevailing conceptions of Zionism and elucidate new meanings of Jewishness today.”
The prize’s namesake, Arthur Szyk, was a Jewish master illustrator, graphic artist and painter who used the power of his art to advocate for political action and justice, especially for the Jews of Holocaust Europe and blacks in America. Szyk’s illuminated edition of the Passover Haggadah is one of the most strikingly original to emerge in generations.