2011 Rappaport Prize winners are: Asaf Ben Zvi and Michael Halak, whose exhibits will open at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in March 2012.
Asaf Ben Zvi, winner of the 2011 Rappaport Prize for an Established Israeli Painter, was born in Kfar Yehezkel in 1953, and graduated from Bezalel in 1985. Assaf Ben Zvi has painted continuously for many years in a studio in Jerusalem, regardless of the embrace or indifference of the surrounding world. The range of his painting includes both figurative and abstract paintings, working at times with abundance of colors and materials, and at times with a very minimalist approach, a pencil line or charcoal on an exposed surface. Ben Zvi’s work is also marked by his use of text – whether literary or his own, as part of the paintings.
Michael Halak, winner of the 2011 Rappaport Prize for a Young Israeli Painter, was born in Kfar Fasuta in the Galilee in 1975. Halak graduated with an MFA from Haifa University, where he now teaches. In 2005 he continued his art studies in Florence, Italy at the Academy of Art. Halak’s studio is in the Pyramid Center for Contemporary Art, in the Wadi Salib neighborhood of Haifa. Halak paints from observation, and his paintings are figurative – realistic. He creates unique compositions of objects that represent images and ideas and uses photographs as a basis for his portraits. His many self-portraits are connected to his political preoccupation with issues of identity and self-representation, and the issues of identity among young Arabs living in Israel today.
The Rappaport Foundation established a new prize of 1 million dollars in honor of Ruth and Baruch Rappaport in 2006, to be awarded yearly to two painters living and working in Israel – a young Israeli painter and established Israeli painter. The prize will be awarded in mid-March, designating the birthday of Baruch Rappaport, who passed away in January 2010. Mrs. Ruth Rappaport and the family continue to maintain the award in the spirit of Baruch Rappaport. This year’s panel of judges are: Irit Rappaport, Prof. Mordechai Omer, Anat Matalon, Doron Sabag and Ellen Ginton.
The painters are each awarded a personal prize, and in addition, an equal sum is dedicated to financing a solo exhibit and catalogue. Each painter donates at least one work of art to the Ruth and Baruch Rappaport collection of Israeli art. The collection will be exhibited in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, at the centennial of the prize.
Sharon Poliakine, winner of the 2010 Rappaport Prize for an Established Israeli Painter, and Oren Eliav, winner of the 2010 Rappaport Prize for a Young Israeli Painter, will have solo exhibits at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, opening March 22, 2011.