For years I have been driving past the iron sculptures located on a hill at Kibbutz Cabri, created by one of Israel’s pioneers of modern sculpting, Israel Prize recipient, Yehiel Shemi. Even if one is no expert in art, it is difficult not to stand in owe in the face of the power conveyed by these statues. The atelier of an artist, who was considered one of the most important Israeli sculptures of all times, was recently opened to the public, near the Sculpture Garden. A visit to the place that was preserved just as it was left by Yehiel Shemi, who died in 2003 at the age 81, enables a peek to the world of the person who had worked here for fifty years.
The place hosts alternating exhibitions displaying works by Shemi and by painters who corresponded and had a dialogue with him.
Shemi’s body of works – sculptures, drawings, sketches, etchings and creations in paper are concentrated in the atelier.
Shemi, who was a member of the “New Horizons” group, initially sculptured in stone and wood. In 1955 he began sculpting in iron and moved from figurative to abstract sculpting. One of the most impressive figurative statues located in the atelier is a huge stone statue, reminiscent of Michelangelo’s David. This statue had undergone many transformations until it went back to Italy, its most natural place.
The atelier is managed by the Shemi-Kna’ani family and Kibbutz Cabri. Shemi was one of the Kibbutz founders, from its early days in the Arava.
Nimrod – who is married to Yael (Shemi’s daughter born in Cabri) – has fascinating stories about the sculptures, the drawings and his father in-law, the artists, Yehiel.