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Vardi Kahana’s One Family

June 24, 2011

The concept of family is a theme that Vardi references frequently throughout her work.  Kahana aims to tackle, as she puts it “The big question of Jewish-Israeli identity”. From the gift of her first camera, a Kodak Instamatic that was given to her as a gift from her American uncle, to her professional desire to capture “the entire Jewish-Israeli narrative embodied in a single family”, Vardi’s work is saturated with a familial spirit.

Vardi Kahana, My Mother, Rivka, With Her Sisters, Lea and Esther, Tel Aviv, 1992, Courtesy of Andrea Meislin Gallery

Vardi narrates this story through her exhibition entitled “One Family”, pieces of which were shown at the Andrea Meislin Gallery in 2007.  Vardi explains her inspiration and subject matter:  “The point of departure for the exhibition is the photograph of my mother, Rivka, and her two sisters, Leah and Esther. Consecutive serial numbers are scorched on their left arms: A7760 A7761 A7762. Thus, in this order, they lined up in Auschwitz in the spring of 1944 to be tattooed. They didn’t know then whether they would live to see the next day. Today all three live in Israel; they have 31 grandchildren, and two of them have 50 great grandchildren.”


Through documenting her family’s roots and ancestry, Vardi delves deeper into what it means to be both Israeli and Jewish. Contemporary art curator Hadas Maor highlights the artistic characteristics present in Kahana’s work that make them both distinct and relevant.

“Her staged photographs make use of a wide range of tools, including drawing, sketching, illustration, scenery, the addition of photographic accessories, makeup, collage, etc.  They are built as an intricate  work of art that includes handiwork alongside analytical skill, precise manipulation alongside sensitivity, distancing alongside transparency, planning alongside contingency, but not from an oppositional binary approach to these tools and capabilities.”

To check out more of Vardi’s award winning work and learn more about her click here! Or you can check out her personal website here!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Daniel permalink
    June 24, 2011 2:27 pm

    This post is superbly written!

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