For a sculptor working with recycled raw materials such as chains, rails, keys, light bulbs and mattress frames and coils, there could not be a better gallery location than on a street next to the world-famous Jaffa Flea Market (Shuk HaPishpishim).
Nirit Levav Packer’s new namesake gallery in an Ottoman-era 400-square-meter former hotel horse stable in the historic port city – part of the Tel Aviv municipality — gives her easy access to the market known for its eclectic vintage items, antiques and “junque” from Israel and around the world.
“I was born in Tel Aviv and I love Jaffa, where there is coexistence between Muslims, Christians and Jews,” says Levav Packer. “We found the place by coincidence; it was like a gift waiting for us, and as soon as we went in we knew this is the best place for me and my art.”
The gallery, which opened on August 8, is showing a retrospective exhibition of large-scale, signature sculptures by Levav Packer from her 2017 “From Within” and “Unchained” exhibitions, along with jewelry designs and miscellaneous art pieces created by the Herzliya-based artist over the past several years.
“From Within” is this mother of four’s take on the complexities of modern motherhood, exploring several stages from pregnancy to birth. Levav Packer welded together chains, gears, twigs, springs, valves and other materials to symbolize the strong mom of the 21st-century.
Her “Unchained” series was born from experimenting with only one subject and one material: dog sculptures fashioned from spare bicycle parts, mainly chains. Levav Packer collaborated with Ripley’s Believe It or Not to create a special incarnation of this series.
A graduate of Parsons School of Design in New York City, Levav Packer started her career in fashion design specializing in bridal gowns. She then studied jewelry, pottery, ceramic sculpture and iron sculpting. She’s had solo exhibitions in Israel and is making a name abroad.
The Nirit Levav Packer Gallery is located at 9 Beit Eshel Street in Jaffa. It’s open Sunday to Thursday 10-7 and Fridays until 2pm.
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